A Denver 911 dispatcher is expected to be suspended for failing to follow protocol when he asked a man and his companions to return to the scene of a road rage incident to wait for police after they had already made it safely back home. After following the dispatcher's orders, 24-year-old Sudanese refugee Jimma Reat was shot to death.
"I told them I don't really want to go back on that side because that's where everything happened," Ran Pal, the driver of the car and Reat's cousin told KMGH. "I said 'I'm here at home this is where I feel safe so please send somebody.' He said, 'No. If you don't go back that way, we won't be able to send anybody, and it's going to be your loss we won't be able to file a police report."
One of Reat's brothers who also talked with the dispatcher reported that the incident began just after 4 a.m. when men in a red Jeep were throwing beer bottles at their vehicle while calling them the "N" word and threatening them with a gun. The brothers followed the Jeep long enough to give the operator the license plate information and then headed back to Reat's apartment in Wheat Ridge, according to Fox31.
But instead of alerting Wheat Ridge Police, the dispatcher asked that the brothers drive back to the scene in Denver at 29th and Sheridan to wait for a police officer to arrive.
Before the police showed up, the suspected vehicle came back and shot at least three times into the vehicle hitting Reat, who was pronounced dead at Denver Health Medical Center shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday.
"I do know (the operator) didn't follow policies," Executive Director of Denver 911 Carl Simpson told the Denver Post. "It does sound like he was following lower-level policies in a higher-level event."
However Reat's brother, Gatwec Dengpahot, says that's not enough and no one from the dispatcher's office has even contacted the family yet.
"You're just saying is not sorry enough [sic]. And we haven't even heard from those individuals yet," Dengpahot told 9News. "If that individual made a bad judgment, that individual should not be there. We don't want this to happen to somebody else."
Adding salt to the wound in this tragedy is Dengpahot's news that Reat was considered the nephew of Youn Malaul, the father of five from Sudan who was gunned down the day after Christmas. No one has yet been arrested or charged in Malaul's killing.
Police are still looking for the suspects driving the red Jeep believed to have been stolen from a rental company, and are investigating whether it was a hate crime.
Anyone with information regarding this crime is being asked to please contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You can text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter your message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.