Kyle Plush 911 call takers followed procedures, police did not by shutting off body cams, chief says

Mayor Cranley speaks before Plush hearing.mpg
Published: May. 12, 2018 at 6:08 PM EDT|Updated: May. 14, 2018 at 1:26 PM EDT
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Kyle Plush's father and aunt attend the Law and Public Safety Committee meeting (FOX19 NOW)
Kyle Plush's father and aunt attend the Law and Public Safety Committee meeting (FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Both Cincinnati 911 call takers followed policies and procedures when Kyle Plush called twice for help as he was trapped in his van, but two police officers who responded to Seven Hills School should not have shut off their body cameras.

Otherwise, the officers reacted reasonably based on the information that had been relayed to them at the time, Police Chief Eliot Isaac told Council's Law and Public Safety Committee Monday.

Isaac released the results on the investigation into how the 16-year-old died trapped in his van despite placing two calls to Cincinnati's 911 system begging for help.

"At a big picture level, I think it's important to say that I think we failed," Mayor John Cranley said at the start of the meeting. "We failed to get the outcome we wanted in this emergency response."

Following Isaac's presentation, city leaders demanded to know why Kyle was not found and what is being done so this doesn't happen again.

Council Member Amy Murray said she didn't understand why the two officers who went to Seven Hills didn't go inside and alert the school someone named Kyle had called 911 and said he was trapped in a van.

"I am going to be a pit bull on this," she said" and not stop until we have an answer on everything. I want to change this so this never happens again."

The officers, Brian Brazile and Edsel Osborn, the chief divulged, did not get out of their vehicle as they searched the school parking lots. A captain later explained it was more efficient for them to quickly search so many parking lots in a car than on foot. School also was letting out at that time, and there were a lot of people around.

Kyle Plush's father attended the meeting and, although he said he had many unanswered questions, he stressed that he is committed to helping fix issues with the city's 911 communication center, not just criticizing.

[MORE: Investigation into Kyle Plush's death]

"I see a time one day where other cities coast to coast will come to our city to learn better 911 practices," he told Council.

Cranley said Kyle's father's remarks were "courageous" and "appropriate."

He said the investigation report into Kyle's death seems "incomplete" and called on city and police officials to address the elder Plush's questions in writing.

"The questions you asked will help us get to the bottom and to a place where we can prevent this in the future," the mayor said.

There is, he said, a "spirit of improvement" and it's correct to keep asking the uncomfortable questions.

The results were to be announced at a special committee meeting back on May 2, but Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters delayed issued a subpoena to temporarily halt it while he took a closer look.

"The goal is to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. The presentation should be in-depth," Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman said in a phone interview earlier Monday.

"I don't know if it will be startling, but it will be in-depth. We will take as much time as we need to go through it. The chief is going to be the lead and be supported by his team. I am looking for him to share everything that was found out as it relates to the investigation."

Kyle was found dead in the parking lot of Seven Hills School by his father on April 10, hours after he became pinned by the third row seat of his van.

The teen called 911 twice for help, but officers never found him.

A coroner's report found that he died from asphyxiation.

A dispatcher told her supervisors she didn't hear Kyle's second call where he gave details about his vehicle and location, a police report shows. It was not immediately clear why, and this is one of the key questions expected to answered Monday.

The police camera footage that has been released so far does not show the police officers who responded to Kyle's first 911 call by going to the school getting out of their vehicle. It also appears to show they only searched one of the school's parking lots.

MORE: Prosecutor's subpoena halts release of Kyle Plush death investigation results

"We want to review everything from the Cincinnati Police Department including videos and still pictures. We also want to review the administrative report from Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil," Deters said when he halted the previous meeting earlier this month.

The photos in-question show students who were standing close enough to the minivan to hear Kyle pounding inside.

"I wanted our staff to see everything they had and to make a determination whether or not we should move forward in any direction whether it's criminal or otherwise," he said.

Deters said there's a minimal chance that criminal charges will be filed in connection with the case.

City leaders also have outlined plans for upgrading the emergency center and earmarked nearly a half million dollars to hire more dispatchers and make other improvements.

"We are already are in the process of attempting to fix some things," Smitherman said, "but I think the testimony today might drive council to look at other areas."

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