New York Daily News

June 25, 2016, 4:00 AM



EXCLUSIVE: Bill to require cops to be retrained in CPR every two years stalls in Senate for fifth straight year


Briana Ojeda died from an asthma attack in 2010. (HANDOUT PHOTO)  

"Briana's Law," a bill requiring cops to be retrained in lifesaving CPR every two years, has been dead on arrival in the state Senate for five years running, the Daily News has learned.

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz who sponsored the bill in memory of 11-year-old Briana Ojeda who died of an asthma attack in 2010 after an NYPD cop claimed he didn't know CPR, said he was outraged this week after reading a story in the Daily News of a video showing cops, waiting for an ambulance and doing nothing for 10 minutes while a handcuffed suspect lay dying of an asthma attack in a Bronx subway station.

"Very often the police get to the scene first of a person in cardiac arrest and they should not be afraid, or lack the training, to do what is necessary to try and save a life," Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) said Friday.

The bill, which would require a refresher course for all cops in New York State, was passed by the Assembly last March for the fifth straight year, but once again, it was not put up for a vote in the Senate.

The Ojeda family protests for "Briana's Law," which could have saved the life of Barrington Williams, who died while in custody after running away from cops.  (MAISEL, TODD,, NY DAILY NEWS)

A spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said union president Patrick Lynch is always supportive of training for cops.

But Police Commissioner William Bratton informed the assemblyman in a letter that the legislation is unnecessary, according to Ortiz. The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

"Bratton needs to step up to the plate and do what is right," Ortiz said.

Barrington Williams died in front of NYPD cops who didn't administer CPR.   (OBTAINED BY THE DAILY NEWS)

Although the bill has bipartisan support, opponents say it is doomed because there's no funding provided to pay for the mandated training.

Ortiz said that argument is short-sighted. "The cost to New York City and other local departments resulting from inadequately trained law enforcement will now be measured not only in lives but in millions of dollars, a price which would easily cover the cost to retrain our state law enforcement," he said.

In the Bronx case detailed by The News, Karen Brown, the mother of victim Barrington Williams, who was stricken after running away from cops who had observed him illegally swiping people through the turnstile with a MetroCard, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the cops.

Assemblyman Felix Ortiz sponsored "Briana's Law" in hopes that cops could save lives.  (MIKE GROLL/AP)

"'Briana's Law' will save lives," said lawyer Jason Leventhal who is suing the city on behalf of Williams.

Former NYPD rookie cop Peter Liang, who was convicted recently of fatally shooting unarmed Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project, claimed — along with his partner — that they did not perform CPR on the dying man because they weren't properly trained in the Police Academy.