San Francisco Medic Facing Criminal Charges Over Restraint Of Patient

A San Francisco Fire Department paramedic is facing criminal charges and a San Francisco police officer has been fired over the restraint of a suicidal female.

Medic Raymond Lee, 46, and San Francisco police officer Michael Filamor responded to a call from the woman’s mother who reported her daughter was threatening to harm herself. The 20-year old woman had a history of mental health and drug problems. Lee was an 11-year medic and Filamor was a rookie police officer.

During the course of evaluating the patient, she became combative. Lee attempted to restrain her, but according to police he broke her arm in three places. Later during the transport to the hospital, Filamor’s body cam reportedly captured Lee placing his hand on her throat. At the time, Filamor had turned off the sound recording, which led police officials to accuse him of trying to cover for Lee. Filamor was fired and his termination letter stated:

  • “You muted your body worn camera without cause.”
  • “At one point, the paramedic choked the patient in your presence. You failed to take action and failed to report the incident.”
[Note: medics may argue that Filamor had cause to stop the audio recording, namely: to protect the patient’s medical confidentiality by not recording HIPAA protected medical communications between Lee and the woman… but that is another story].

Lee, who pled not guilty to the criminal charges, retired last week. He had been on desk duty while the investigation was being conducted. Filamor is suing to get his job back, claiming he did nothing wrong. The patient’s mother suing the city in San Francisco Superior Court seeking compensation for her daughter’s injuries

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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