St. Louis paid out $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought forward by the grandmother of a woman who was killed after a 911 dispatcher sent officers to the wrong address.
The tragedy occurred nearly three years ago, in July of 2014.
Jessica Thompson called 911 following a frightening encounter with her ex-boyfriend, Adrian Houston.
Houston turned up outside the victim’s apartment early in the morning, banging on windows and doors. After entering the apartment, Houston began choking his former lover.
A resident groundskeeper, Tony Jordan, tried to intervene upon hearing screams coming from Thompson’s apartment. He told Houston to leave and called 911.
Officers didn’t arrive for another half hour – two minutes after Houston returned with a handgun, shooting Jordan outside the complex and going back in to murder Thompson.
Jessica Thompson’s grandmother filed the lawsuit after it was revealed the delayed police response was caused by a 911 dispatcher’s mistake – rather than directing law enforcement to the right complex, the officers were given an incorrect and ‘nonexistent’ address a block away. The dispatcher had also contacted the wrong district authorities.
Attorney for the plaintiffs Albert Watkins challenged St. Louis by asking whether a call that hadn’t originated from a primarily African-American neighborhood would have been given more importance.
The lawsuit read that law enforcement and dispatchers had shown a level of “care commensurate with a request to retrieve a cat from a tree.”
“The dispatcher was really, really in a disinterested fashion, cavalier,” said Watkins. “It’s almost like she couldn’t be bothered.”
Thompson’s grandmother, Edith J. Foster, said her daughter had moved into the apartment only four days before she was killed by Houston. She left behind a son who was 1-year old at the time of the murders.
Foster told the St. Louis Dispatch in 2014 that her grandson had just learned to say “mama” in the days preceding the shooting. She said the young boy was restless, frequently looking to find his mother.
The terms of the settlement, announced Monday, direct $200,000 to Foster, with the remaining $300,000 being disbursed in a series of payments through 2037 to Thompson’s now 4-year old son.
Tony Jordan had four children.
Adrian Houston was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder along with a slew of other charges, following a plea bargain and admission of guilt.
The dispatcher responsible for the error was allowed to retire, under the condition she could never again be rehired.