Monday, June 16, 2008

Murdered student's family sues 911 operator

The family of a murdered University of Wisconsin student has filed a federal lawsuit against Dane County and the 911 operator who handled a call from the student's cellphone.

Kevin and Jean Zimmermann claim negligence by the county and 911 operator Rita Gahagan contributed to their daughter's death. Brittany Zimmermann was killed in her apartment April 2. Police said it was a random crime and have not identified a suspect.

The federal lawsuit alleges Gahagan took Zimmermann's 911 call but lost contact with her, then failed to call back as required, and did not send police to investigate.

Zimmermann's 911 call lasted about 90 seconds, the complaint said, enough time for Gahagan to identify the caller's name, phone number and location. Her apartment was a few blocks from a police station.

The complaint also refers to a consulting firm's report advising that the 911 center had "serious deficiencies," including understaffing and inadequate supervision. (info from Greenbay Press-Gazette)

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