Detroit, MI - As Detroit Police Officer Johnson lies in a hospital bed fighting for his life, questions are being raised about why he wasn't taken to the hospital most qualified to deal with his injuries.
According to Fox2Detroit, Officer Johnson and other Detroit police officers responded to a 911 call of domestic violence Sunday night, at Oakman Apartments on Joy Road.
Surveillance video from inside the building show the suspect, James Ray, walking to the front door of the building, with a gun in his hand. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that Officer Johnson and Ray encountered each other, and that Ray shot at Officer Johnson, who returned fire.
Officer Johnson's partner, who was not identified, and who was just six months out of the academy, fired multiple rounds at Ray, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rapid Response EMS, a private ambulance service, responded and transported Officer Johnson to Oakwood Beaumont Hospital, which is in Dearborn, not Detroit. That hospital is 7.3 miles away from where the incident occurred, and it's a Level Two Trauma Center.
EMS chose not to go to Sinai Grace, which is 5.1 miles from the scene, and also a Level Two Trauma Center, or to Henry Ford Hospital, only 4.8 miles away, and which is a Level One Trauma Center.
Level One Trauma Centers are designed for the most severe trauma.
Mark Diaz, Detroit police union president, said "We have hindsight to see what went wrong. And the fact is there were other hospitals closer that he should have been taken to."
He said that he isn't saying that Oakwood Beaumont isn't a great hospital, but Detroit Receiving was less than half a mile further away, and that he should have gone to Henry Ford, since it was a Level One trauma center and only four miles away.
Police Chief Craig said that he wants a "thorough review." He said "I'm troubled by this - as I begin to learn more, I become more and more troubled. A Level 1 facility Henry Ford was closer - and they specialize in neurosurgery." He said that he is concerned that 'protocol wasn't followed when seconds count'.
Chief Craig said that when he arrived at the hospital shortly after Officer Johnson was taken there, that when his wife met with him, that her first question was "why is my husband here?", according to Clickon Detroit.
In an interview with Chief James Craig, FOX 2 said that the Detroit Fire Department wouldn't allow their own people to be transported by the same private EMS service which transported Officer Johnson. Chief Craig expressed the importance of making sure that allegation was true, because if it was, then nobody should be transported by the private EMS company.
The Chief asked hard questions about what the motivation was to take the officer to the less qualified hospital, stopping just short of saying that there must be some ulterior motive.
You can see video of Chief James Craig calling out local politicians for being more supportive of Black Lives Matter than the lives of a police hero in the interview below (more after the break.) This is an informal interview, with no speech, but you ware unlikely to see another major municipal police chief willing to stand up for his officers like Chief Craig is:
As questions surround the hospital choice, prayers are needed for Officer Johnson. On May 1, his surgeon said that his condition has "deteriorated". He said that his condition is critical, and that he needs prayers.
Officer Johnson underwent a second surgery on Monday, and now doctors are waiting for the swelling in his brain to go down. His surgeon described the injury as "devastating."
His step-father retired from the Detroit Police Department 22 years ago. Chief Craig said that Officer Johnson went to his step-father and told him when he was young that he wanted to be a police officer. He said, "His son enjoyed this job each and every day - looked forward to going out and serving the citizens of this city."
Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Johnson.