FDNY EMT Charged In Death Of Pregnant Woman For Failure To Act

One of the FDNY EMTs who failed to come to the aid of a dying woman in an Au Bon Pain last December, has been charged criminally. Melissa Jackson was arrested and arraigned in Brooklyn today, ten months after the fateful December 9, 2009 incident.

Jackson and fellow EMT Jason Green, apparently snuck out of work as dispatchers to grab a bagel while an Au Bon pain employee,  Eutisha Rennix, was experiencing an asthma attack. The exact details of what occurred in the resturant remain somewhat sketchy, but the pair did not treat Ms. Rennix, although Jackson did call 911 for an ambulance.

Rennix, who was 25 years old and 8 months pregnant, died. Her baby girl was delivered via c-section and also perished.

Green was shot and killed in an unrelated incident last summer. Jackson is charged with “official misconduct”. Under New York Penal Law, the offense reads as follows:

 § 195.00. Official misconduct

A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with intent to obtain a benefit or deprive another person of a benefit:

1. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized; or

2. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.

Outside the courtroom, Jackson’s lawyer, Benjamin Heinrich, made an ironic observation:  Jackson  was the only person in the Au Bon Pain that morning who did anything to aid Rennix. Neither the manager, co-workers, nor even Rennix’s boyfriend did anything for the woman. Rennix herself declined suggestions that an ambulance be called because she needed the hours at work.  

Jackson faces a maximum sentence of two years.


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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