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article imageParamedics accused of taking selfies with unconscious patients

By Arthur Weinreb     Jul 24, 2016 in Crime
It is alleged two paramedics in Okaloosa County, Florida had a contest to see which one could take the most selfies with patients who were unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.
On Thursday, the sheriff of Okaloosa County announced criminal charges against the two former EMS workers and advised warrants had been issued for their arrests. In a press release, it was announced the two had engaged in a "selfie war" to see which one could take the most selfies with patients who were intubated, unconscious or incapacitated in some way. The selfies included both pictures and videos.
Kayla Renee Dubois, 24, faces two counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications which is a third-degree felony. Christopher Wimmer, 33, has been charged with seven counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications and one count of misdemeanor battery. The battery charge alleges he held the eyelid of one patient open while taking a selfie. The charge of interception and disclosure basically means taking a picture of someone without that person's consent.
It is also alleged Wimmer took a selfie with an elderly woman whose breast was exposed.
The investigation began in May when other EMS workers advised they received pictures and videos of the alleged incidents on their phones. On May 20, Dubois was fired from her job and later that day, Wimmer resigned. Dubois was arrested Thursday and Wimmer turned himself in the same day.
From texts exchanged between the two paramedics, it was determined they were having a contest or "selfie war" to see who could take the most selfies with patients. When asked why they would do that, Sheriff Larry Ashley said, "I think it was a sick, juvenile game."
Fox17 reports 41 patients have been identified. Two of those patients have died and three more were found to be willing participants in having their pictures taken. Of the remaining patients, 19 were female and 17 were male and they ranged in age from 24 to 86. It was also reported five of the victims were homeless.
During their investigation, police recovered 101 pictures and 64 videos.
The New York Daily News reports Bill Bishop of the State's Attorney's Office as saying Dubois and Wimmer will be "vigorously prosecuted" and the state will ask for jail time if convicted. As a result of the allegations the county's EMS has made a policy change. Paramedics will no longer be allowed to use their personal cellphones while in the back of an ambulance.
Although it is alleged Dubois and Wimmer sent photos and videos to other EMS employees and friends, it is not believed of any of them were posted on the Internet.
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