Family pushes for 'Briana's Law' after NYPD officer fails to provide CPR

Kemberly Richardson has the story.
February 9, 2014 3:25:16 PM PST
Carmen Ojeda will never forget the words 'I don't do CPR; I don't know CPR'. They are a stinging reminder of what happened next, and how she stood by helplessly and watched her daughter Briana slip away.

Carmen rushed the 11-year-old to the hospital - her little girl was having a serious asthma attack, and died. Those words 'I don't know CPR' Carmen says were told to her by NYPD officer Alfonso Mendez. Those words became a call to action.

"This is in honor of her, something she would want us to do," says Carmen.

On Sunday, Carmen, her husband, Michael, and others gathered in support of Briana's Law. Right now, police are trained to give CPR, but only initially at the academy. This proposed legislation would require officers to be retrained and tested every two years. The hope is to prevent what happened to Briana from ever happening again.

"Every officer I speak with tells me they wait their entire career to be able to save someone," says Briana's father, Michael, "Alfonso Mendez let my little girl die."

As for the NYPD, critics point out that this is a no-brainer, especially if officers are required to stay up-to-date with other duties.

"They go to the range twice a year to learn how to shoot a gun," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, "so how do you go to the range to learn to take a life, but you don't go twice a year to learn how to save a life? That's unacceptable."

Every Sunday, Carmen and Michael visit Briana's grave ? they say Christmas is the toughest time of the year.

"If the bill passed into law, it would be the right thing to do ? it would save lives," adds Carmen.