Charges against James R. Bennett, former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Memorial Hospital, have been dismissed by the Hamilton County Criminal Court upon motion by the state. Judge Tom Greenholtz signed the order of dismissal.
“My client, Bob Bennett, lost his job, his license and had to face everything that comes with criminal charges,” attorney McCracken Poston said, “but we are thankful for a prosecutor who will take new information into consideration.”
Attorney Poston said that he revealed his sole defense to the prosecutor, and that a fresh look was taken at the case, resulting in the motion to dismiss the case.
Mr. Bennett, who was working as an EMT on June 13, 2020, answered a call to an East Ridge residence on an illegal substance overdose case - the second such call regarding the same individual in a matter of a few weeks.
“The patient was non-responsive,” attorney Poston said, “and Bob needed to act quickly.” He said the video offered by the East Ridge Police to prosecute his client would have been “Exhibit A for the Defense.”
Attorney Poston said that laypersons do not know about EMT training, particularly regarding “painful stimuli” that EMTs need to apply to assess the depths of unconsciousness of an overdose patient.
He said these can involve quite painful measures such as a clavicle pinch or a sternal rub.
“As we were in the middle of a pandemic,” attorney Poston said, “getting down next to the face of an unconscious drug abuser was not wise.”
Attorney Poston said “The video did not reveal anything other than a modified application of the initial assessment painful stimuli of short swift kicks to the man’s leg,” pointing out that this was a method much safer for the emergency responder.
He blamed "petty professional jealousies" for the charges being brought in the first place. “When an EMT enters the room, they should be in charge, and I think some feelings got hurt when he ordered all of the police officers out of the small bedroom.”