MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jasmine Robinson died Sunday when investigators said she was hit by a car after her husband punched her in the head – just about 12 minutes after she called 911, according to court documents.
Memphis Police Department public information officer, Louis Brownlee, told FOX13:
"Dispatch only shows one call from the victim, which was received at 1:32 a.m. The victim advised that her husband had taken her car and had been beating her. She further advised that her husband was at 1030 Grand and that she was standing by at a store.
The victim did not provide a location of where she was located; however, dispatch was able to use the X-Y coordinates finding that the victim was possibly in the area of Park and Airways. After gathering the information, an event was created at 1:36 a.m. Prior to officers being dispatched, another call was received at 1:44 a.m., advising that a pedestrian had been struck. Officers made the scene at 1:49 a.m.
There were 8 minutes from the time the event was created until we received the crash call concerning a pedestrian had been struck."
FOX13 Investigates set out to understand why eight minutes transpired.
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Brownlee said Robinson, 41, told 911 that her husband was at their home, and that she was standing by at a store – away from him.
“If we had dispatched an officer to a routine report call, maybe a theft of ID or vandalism call, and we got a more serious call that came in while they were in route, we would broadcast that call over the air,” Michael Spencer said.
Spencer is the Emergency Communications Administrator for the Memphis Police Department. He and Brownlee wouldn’t speak to FOX13 about the Robinson case specifically because it’s still under investigation (except the statement above).
However, Spencer did explain that, generally speaking, there are different priorities and levels of seriousness in 911 calls.
“The same officer coming to you for vandalism or a car that’s been parked down the street for two days that you don’t know who it belongs to, is the same one that’s coming out for a more serious incident,” Spencer said. “We just prioritize them, and we try to utilize the police force and send them on the higher priority calls.”
Spencer explained that a domestic violence call typically wouldn’t be the highest severity level of call unless someone was in imminent danger. Of course, in this case, it turns out Robinson was in a dire situation.
According to the affidavit, her husband – Johnny Crawford, 46 – was able to catch up to her, and she died shortly after.
But that situation changed from the time she called 911 to the time MPD showed up for the “pedestrian struck” call. FOX13 Investigates has requested the 911 tapes from that night, but MPD said they can’t be released currently as there is an ongoing investigation.
Spencer said the 911 dispatch center has to send officers to high-priority calls first – but that the bottom line is they try to get all incidents covered as soon as possible.
“A lot of moving pieces that prevent us from promising ETA’s, but we always send cars as soon as we have one available, and we send them to the most serious incidents as soon as we can,” Spencer said.
Priority 0 calls are ones where the caller has indicated that a loss of life has happened or is possible.
Spencer said in 2018, MPD’s average response time to priority 0 calls was six minutes and 58 seconds.
He also added that even if a person hangs up before 911 can figure out what’s wrong or where they are, they’ll still have an officer go if they can narrow down their location.
“If we have location, whether you gave it to us verbally or our system generated it through triangulation or other means, we’re going to send an officer to check,” Spencer said.
Most 911 calls are made from cell phones now, Spencer said.
Technology has advanced to the point where if a person can’t or doesn’t give an exact location, the 911 dispatch center can often pinpoint a general area, if not an exact location.
If someone feels it’s unsafe to call 911, remember that MPD accepts texts to 911 now. A call is preferable to officers, but text messaging your emergency is another option to be utilized if needed.