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Dallas Fire / Rescue

Internal Affairs / Investigation Division


September 17, 2016
This letter shall serve as my official complaint against a member of the Dallas Fire / Rescue
Departmet, serving (at the time of this incident) as a paramedic on Rescue 55.
The incident took place on Friday, September 16, 2016, at approximately 430pm.
A photograph of this paramedics is included on the enclosed DVD of images from the incident.
I am requesting a full and proper investigation of my claims, and as appropriate, disciplinary
action in keeping with the Departments guidelines, be imposed upon this officer.
I am available for questions about the incident at your convenience. My phone number is 214923-3562 and my email address is Avi@AviAdelman.com.
Regards,

Avi S. Adelman

Date/Time of Incident
September 16, 2016, approximately 430p

Location where incident took place


100 N. Henderson, Dallas TX 75214

Complainant

Avi S. Adelman
5620 East Side Avenue
Dallas TX 75214
Telephone
214-923-3562
Email
Avi@AviAdelman.com

Dallas / Fire Rescue Officer

Identity unknown at this time


Officer said he was not required to provide his name or badge number
Officer was a paramedic working on Rescue 55

Incident Description
Complainant is a freelance photographer living in Dallas Texas.
At approximately 415pm, Complainant heard on his first responder scanner a report
regarding a dog bite incident at 100 N. Henderson Avenue, Dallas TX 75214. This address
is less than one-quarter mile from Complainants address, so he went to the scene.
On arrival, Complainant noted the presence of a DFR Engine (unknown unit number)
parked on the 5300 block of Victor Street. From there, Complainant followed a Dallas
Police Department vehicle by foot to an apartment complex about one-half block south,
closer to Columbia Avenue. At that moment, Complainant noted the arrival of a DFR
Rescue vehicle (#55). The vehicle entered a parking lot behind the apartment complex
and paramedics entered the apartment complex. Complainant took a position behind a

dumpster in the parking lot, approximately 50 feet from the DFR Rescue vehicles back
door.
At 439pm (all times are based on photo information file), DFR paramedics exited the
apartment complex. One officer was a black male, one was a Hispanic male (the subject
of this incident). They were accompanied by a Hispanic female and her 2-year-old son
(later identified as the bite victim) in her arms.
The black male officer opened the vehicles back door for the patient. The Hispanic
officer walked around the front of the vehicle and entered the drivers side door at
443pm.
Within just a few seconds, the Hispanic officer exited the vehicle and started walking
towards the Complainant. He immediately began waving his hands and yelling at the
Complainant to stop taking photos. Complainant yelled back, You cannot tell me what
to do (not sic). The officer replied, HIPPA. Complainant replied HIPPA only covers
records, it does not cover photographs. The officer replied, Its a kid (not sic).
Complainant replied, It does not matter, I can take photographs (not sic).
During this conversation, the officer stood in front of the Complainant, waving his hands
in an effort to block the view of the Rescue vehicle.
Note: At this point, Complainant admits to losing his temper and using language that
would probably make a sailor blush, but apparently not strong enough to bother a
firefighter. Complainant apologizes for his language, but not for his intent.
After about 60 seconds of this interference, Complainant left the scene.

Complaints
The unidentified paramedic claimed that HIPPA prevents the photography of their patients.
HIPPA only applies to medical records and information created and retained by
members of the medical profession and related fields. In this case, paramedics are
Ccertified as healthcare providers.
HIPPA does not apply to a photographer or member of the public taking photographs of
a patient or an incident taking place in public view. This policy has been repeated many
times by the Departments Public Information Officer, Jason Evans, on numerous
occasions to Complainant and the media.

"DFR understands and respects the rights of anyone to be at the scenes, and
taking documentation, of any incident to which we respond," he added in an
email. "While we reserve the right to ask someone to stop taking pictures, in no
way (provided that they are not interfering with operations, putting themselves
or others in danger, among other things) can we make them stop.
Quote by Jason Evans, DFR PIO, to the Dallas Observer, February 12th, 2016 Blog
post - DART Cop Arrests Barking Dog Avi Adelman for Taking Photos at Rosa
Parks Plaza
The unidentified paramedic claimed that Complainant could not take a photograph of a minor.
The only restrictions created by the age of the person involve the use of the image in a
commercial manner (eg cereal box), which would require a written release signed by a
parent or guardian.
However, it is generally recognized that the media may take a photograph of any person
in public view for possible use in a news publication or broadcast. There are some media
outlets which will fuzz out the image of the child, but that is not a legally mandated
requirement.
The paramedic issued an illegal order to stop taking photographs, using his official position to
intimidate the Complainant.
Observing and photographing emergency medical activity in public is a legitimate means
of gathering information for public dissemination that is protected by the free speech
and free press clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as
applied to the State of Texas and instrumentalities of the state such as the Dallas Fire /
Rescue Department under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Prayer for Relief

That the unidentified paramedic be disciplined for the illegal actions outlined above.
That the Department issue a statement to all members, clearly noting that HIPPA does
not apply to photography of patients in a public setting, provided the photographers are
not physically interfering with the treatment of the patient or the procedures.
That the unidentified paramedic and the Department offer a written apology to
Complainant for his actions.
That a copy of the investigative report be provided to the Complainant (this letter shall
serve as an open records request under the Texas Public Information Act).