FORT LAUDERDALE – A key section of a paramedic’s tape-recorded statement given to Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) detectives in the 2001 hog-tying death of Lauderdale Lakes businessman Oral Brown was improperly transcribed, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
That’s the explanation from W. Anthony “Tony” Loe, the prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury.
The statement that was allegedly transcribed improperly was given by paramedic Ken Loukinen.
“It appears that in the transcription of the audio recording, the transcribing secretary likely misunderstood the reference to the C-Spine (cervical collar) and called it “seize fine,” Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said in an email to the South Florida Times.
C-Spine stands for the medical term “cervical spine,” according Webster’s Medical Dictionary, not cervical collar, as indicated in the email from the state attorney’s office.
At issue are accounts in the homicide report by BSO homicide detective Glenn Bukata, that Loukinen said he placed a cervical collar around Brown’s neck.
“I interviewed Paramedic Ken Loukinen, who stated that he crawled into the overturned truck and saw the victim suspended from the seatbelt, in an unresponsive state,” Bukata wrote.
“Loukinen stated that he placed a cervical collar around the victim’s neck, at which time the victim became combative.”
But the transcript of the statement Loukinen provided makes no mention of a cervical collar at all.
During his deposition taken in an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by Brown’s family, Loukinen testified that he did not put a cervical collar on Brown and did not see anyone else do so.
The homicide report also states Bukata got a new cervical collar from a fire station and took it to the medical examiner's office, where the pathologist who performed the autopsy opined that bruises on Brown’s neck were “consistent with the wearing of a cervical collar.”
But an examination of the autopsy report reveals it makes no references to a cervical collar, or what caused the bruises found on Brown’s neck.
Further, in the two places where the term “seize fine” is used in the transcript, those references are unrelated to Loukinen or anyone else placing a cervical collar or any other type of device around Brown’s neck.
The transcript quotes Loukinen as saying, “When I went to control the seize fine he became very combative,” and also, “at that point there was no way to control the seize fine.”
Jean M. Ferber, the emergency room trauma physician, wrote in her report that Brown was not wearing a cervical collar when he arrived and was pronounced dead a short time later. “This is a 37-year-old male who was reported to be combative at the scene, was brought in by EMS without a neck collar, lying supine with handcuffs and multiple twist ties to restrain him,” Ferber wrote.
Brown apparently suffered a seizure while driving on Oct. 15, 2001, and was involved in a single vehicle rollover accident.
His SUV crashed through a fence at the Swap Shop Flea Market in Fort Lauderdale.
He was forcibly restrained and hog-tied by first responders after being freed from the wreckage of his overturned vehicle.
Some witnesses say he was placed in a chokehold and beaten prior to being hog-tied and strapped face-down to a stretcher, but those witnesses say they were never called to testify before the grand jury.
The medical examiner and a grand jury have concluded his death was
accidental but his widow, Alverna Brown, has filed suit and the case is pending in the courts.
A series of South Florida Times reports has led a Margate-based civil rights organization headed by Rev. Dennis Grant, and a state Rep. Hazelle Rogers to call on Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor to reopen the case.
*Pictured above is Broward Sheriff's Office detective Glen Bukata, left, and paramedic Ken Loukinen, right.
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