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Did Officer Involved in Girl's Death Alter Appearance to Throw Off Witnesses?

Did Officer Involved in Girl's Death Alter Appearance to Throw Off Witnesses?

Alfonso Mendez is accused of shaving his head to throw off investigators after young girl dies of asthma attack last week. [AP]

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

September 03, 2010

BROOKLYN – A cop accused of being unhelpful to a Brooklyn girl dying of an asthma attack shaved his head in an apparent attempt to throw off witnesses, the child’s family charged Thursday.

“We think there was an attempt to alter his appearance,” said Bonita Zelman, lawyer for the family of Briana Ojeda.

At least three witnesses claim Officer Alfonso Mendez, 30, had a healthy head of hair, albeit a receding one, a week ago today when he stopped Briana’s mother in Brooklyn as she was rushing the girl to the hospital.

It took detectives four days to identify Mendez as the cop accused of refusing to help the 11-year-old child because he didn’t know CPR. Briana died in the emergency room, leaving her parents heartbroken and fuming over the cop’s ineptness.

When he was tracked down by detectives Tuesday, Mendez was sporting a shaved head.

“Don’t you think that’s an admission of guilt?” Zelman said of Mendez’s changing hair style.

Zelman said Briana’s mom, Carmen Ojeda, only recalled that the cop who stopped her was wearing a hat. But three witnesses reported the officer as having plenty of hair on the sides.

“When I saw him, he had hair,” said Sam Ali, a deli worker who called 911 when he saw the Cobble Hill ordeal unfold.

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Another witness, Wendy O’Connell, insisted Mendez had hair when he confronted Briana and her mother.

“He looks drastically different,” said O’Connell, studying the fresh photo of Mendez.

“He went from hair to bare. He still has that smirk on his face,” added witness Erica Domenech.

Mendez’s attorney declined to comment.

The cop, assigned to the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn, has been suspended without pay and will likely face a departmental charge for failing to take proper police action.

  • Thinker_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    All LE needs to know how to give CPR. Since the new guidelines coming out later this year will not require giving any breaths therefore eliminating contamination or exposure to body fluids or communicable disease, there should be no excuse not to give it...

  • 1211120858_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    if the article is true that he "doesn't know cpr" what the hell did he get taught in the academy? and isn't there a such thing as annual training? I never have heard of a officer not knowing cpr!!!

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    im sorry, no cpr mask=no cpr. Children are not immune from Hepatitis, AIDS, HIV, and a whole list of other Blood borne pathogens. I have emergency medicine training, and the first rule is, your safety is always first.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Anything would have been better than nothing. If ( a big if ! )this is a case of the officer doing absolutely nothing, he is culpable. In the meantime, let's have some more info.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    Just hope this whole crap is not within the 11 Division or even the PBBS...

  • Phone_pics_035_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I am a little confused? Did he just leave the scene or not perform CPR? If he is not certified in basic first aid and CPR then he has no business in trying to perform it. If he just left the scene without dispatching rescue he better have one hell of an excuse. Lets see how this plays out.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Maybe he couldn't give cpr because he didn't have a device. But he could have taken her to the hospital. It was nearby and he had lights and siren!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    If I did not have a CPR mask handy, I WILL NOT GIVE CPR to a stranger. Co-workers and family, of course, strangers, NEVER. How did he refuse help, by leaving or by just not giving CPR. Our Dept used to train us to be 1st Responders, but they quit doing that the last couple of years. We are not certified in CPR. Like others have stated, need more info, let this one out. I don't like that he has been suspended w/out pay though.

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    We need to let this one play out... I agree with all of Top Cat's points but I also wonder why it took a 911 call to apparently summon medical help.

  • 131050241_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    If in fact he did refuse to help the girl then let the punishment begin. But the lawyer saying "Don’t you think that’s an admission of guilt?” pisses me off. If a prosecutor of police said that about a suspect the media would be all over them, but a cop does something wrong then the burden of proof drops dramatically.
    Like I said, If he did refuse then he needs to go.

  • 4076_1_sbl_max600_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I don't know all the details but I'll say it seems odd that he'd "alter his appearance"

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