Uploaded on May 6, 2009
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Charges dismissed against teen in 911 case
LINCOLN PARK - All charges were dismissed yesterday against a teen-ager arrested for making a scene at the Police Department after she said an officer repeatedly hung up on her as she called 911 for an ambulance for her father.
Adrainne Ledesma, 17, smiled in court yesterday as she learned City Prosecutor Norman Kohlstrand had dismissed the case against her that could have sent her to jail for up to 90 days.
"I'm happy," she said after the two-minute hearing in front of 25th District Judge David Bajorek. "I think it's ridiculous what happened."
Ledesma had called 911 Aug. 19 after finding her father, Adrain, who had recently undergone brain surgery, lying on the kitchen floor, having a seizure.
Upset about what she was seeing, she said she started to swear as she dialed 911 for an ambulance. She was in the midst of swearing, she said, when police Sgt. Robert McFarland answered the phone.
"He started to lecture me about not cussing because I think he thought I was cussing at him, but I wasn't," she said. "Then he hung up on me."
She said she called back and again explained that she needed an ambulance, but was hung up on again.
That was repeated once more, she said, until she finally got in touch with a relative and had him call for an ambulance.
A transcript of the 911 calls made available by police show McFarland calling the teen a "stupid ***" on her second call.
When the teen asked during the same call if an ambulance could be sent to her home in the 2100 block of Hartwick, McFarland told her, "No, you're not going to get one."
When she called back a minute later and asked for the officer's name, he refused to identify himself, instead calling the teen "a buffoon."
When Ledesma walked into the police station a short while later to find out the officer's name so she could file a complaint against him, she was arrested for misusing the 911 system and locked up pending a court hearing.
She had been charged with phone harassment and disturbing the peace, both misdemeanors.
According to police, she repeatedly swore in the lobby of the police station and yelled at McFarland, an officer for 20 years. Once she was arrested, the report says, the teen refused to comply and had to be restrained to a bench.
Police Lt. Brian Hawk, who previously had said he supported McFarland's decision to arrest Ledesma, is overseeing an internal investigation into how the 911 calls were handled.
The city prosecutor said he reviewed the evidence in the case and wasn't satisfied he had enough to prove Ledesma guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
"At this point in time, the city chooses to not prosecute the matter further," Kohlstrand said, adding that charges could be reinstated at any time over the next two years.
Police Chief Thomas Karnes said he isn't going to argue with Kohlstrand's decision.
"There were some questions as to what was going on with this case," he said. "The best thing with emotions running high is to put it away for a while. It was a tragic time in a person's life and emotions can run high."
The teen's attorney, Douglas Hamel, said he is considering suing the department for wrongful arrest. He said Ledesma has two years to decide if she wants to pursue that angle.
While charges were dropped against the teen, she said she learned a lesson should she ever have to call 911 again.
"I'll be a little more calm," Ledesma said.
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