Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Former 911 operator sentenced for hanging up on callers

Former 911 operator sentenced for hanging up on callers

A jury found her guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls.

Williams had worked at the Houston Emergency Center for about 18 months, ending in 2016. Data showed that Williams hung up on thousands of calls, including reports of homicides, robberies and speeding vehicles. Court documents indicate Williams took the call, and before the caller could finish speaking, she reportedly said, "Ain't nobody got time for this". The 10 days in jail can be served over a series of weekends.

Her attorney said it wasn't a malicious act.

"The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need", said Lauren Reeder, a Harris County prosecutor. "When a public servant betrays the community's trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable".

When questioned about the short calls, Ogg's office said in a news release that Williams told investigators she often hung up because she did not want to talk to anyone at those times. An ambulance arrived after a different operator answered a second call and the woman survived.

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One of the callers was Buster Pendley, who said Williams hung up on him after his wife collapsed - the victim of a blood clot moving to her lungs. A man called 911 after an armed robber targeted the convenience store in which he was buying lottery tickets.

Prosecutors revealed that among the calls ignored by Williams were two potentially fatal - a violent robber and a street race in an area where several persons lost their lives over the past year.

"This is just a very significant event", HEC Manager Joe Laud said at the time.

At the time, the HEC said the high volume of short calls from Williams were an "anomaly" rather than an issue with the center, reports the Houston Chronicle.

He also criticized the statute prosecutors used to charge Williams, and said he expected it to be overturned on appeal.

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