BY JAMES HARPER
Imagine calling the Daytona Beach Police Department for help and getting arrested for dialing 911. That is what happened to Dedra Jones on – no kidding – April Fools’ Day.
According to a police report, 911 was dialed from Jones’ phone eight times.
Jones is not denying she called the emergency number multiple times. What else was she supposed to do after her home was broken into and the police department did not show up to her address until almost an hour after her initial call, she asks?
First call: 4:33 p.m.
The Daytona Beach resident said that when officers did show up at her home they did nothing to investigate the burglary at her home.
“When the police got there, they were laughing. ‘You all are doing our job,’ ’’ Jones said she was told. On one of her calls to the police, she had requested for them to meet her at an address where she believed her stolen property had been taken.
Here’s what happened: Jones first had her daughter call the police department around 4:30 p.m. after she arrived at her home on Berkshire Road and realized that her home had been broken into on April 1 and a number of her items, including television sets, a laptop, jewelry and computer games were missing.
Second call: 4:57 p.m.
An arrest report filled out by Officer Willie Chirillo validated that first call was made from Jones’ cell phone at 4:33 and also validated that another call was made to the police from the same phone at 4:57 p.m.
The police had still not arrived at Jones’ address almost a half-hour after initiated, which Jones said was the reason she called again.
“The police still hadn’t come. I asked why hadn’t they sent anybody.
They said they hadn’t sent anybody,” Jones told the Daytona Times on Wednesday.
Chirillo noted in the police report that she did not arrive at the Berkshire address until 5:24 in a marked Daytona Beach police car and said Jones was not on the scene at the time.
Arrested at 5:45 p.m.
According to the police report, Chirillo went to the Berkshire address even though she was told by another officer that Jones was at a Lewis Drive address, a block from her home, at the time. It was the address witnesses had told her that her stolen items had been taken.
Chirillo wrote in his police report that an Officer E. Jacobs was at the 802 Lewis Drive address and that Jones was told to go back to her home address and to stop dialing 911.
Jones was arrested at 5:45 p.m. and accused of misusing the 911 line.
She said the ordeal got worse when she was detained in a paddy wagon for three hours and not allowed to use the bathroom even though she repeatedly asked to do so. She was taken to the Daytona Beach Police Department and held in a van; she would not be transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail until 8:45 p.m.
She was not allowed to post her $500 bond until after midnight, Jones said.
No previous record
Jones’ sister is outraged that her sister had to be arrested, especially in front of her children.
“My sister doesn’t have a record. They humiliated her in front of her family and children. It’s a shame. My sister and her husband are law-abiding taxpayers. The police are supposed to be here to protect and serve,” said her sister, Lenita Flournoy, who went to the police station at 6:30 p.m. to try to help her sister.
“Citizens are being treated like criminals. They let the criminals go,” remarked Flournoy, who is working with her sister to get legal representation to sue the city. She said they also are contacting the local NAACP branch.
Flournoy said the police did not take the burglary charge serious until after she went down to the police station and demanded something was done about the arrest and the burglary. Flournoy said she was so upset she demanded a meeting with DBPD Chief Mike Chitwood but said she wasn’t allowed to talk to him.
“We asked for an appointment to see Chitwood. I asked for an appointment with him on another day. They would not give me an appointment,” Flournoy declared.
She added that this was not the only occasion she knows about where police refused to show up in the Black community after a 911 call was placed and the person doing the call was arrested.
Not taken seriously?
Jones told the Daytona Times the only reason she called the police again was because she was worried that the suspects who had stolen her items were going to get away.
She said that while at the Lewis Drive address, the police did nothing to retrieve her items and did not try to do an investigation. She said officers yelled at her and then took off from the scene.
This is when she called 911 again because the police who arrived on the scene refused to take her call serious.
In the police report, Chirillo said she made several attempts to talk to Jones at her Berkshire address, which she arrived at 5:24 p.m. in reference to the burglary but said Jones ignored the questions, refused to talk to her and began to walk away.
Chirillo said Jones was talking on her cell phone. She would later learn she was on the phone with the complaint desk at the police department.
At 5:27 p.m., Jones called 911 demanding to talk to a supervisor. At 5:34 p.m., she called again demanding that an officer come to her home to write a report.
The Daytona Times requested police reports involving the burglary and Jones’ arrest but only received the arrest report by the newspaper’s Wednesday night deadline.
By 5:45 p.m., Jones was arrested. No arrests in the robbery had been made by Wednesday night.