Audio of the 911 call made by Richard Sherman‘s wife has been released, and it’s disturbing — both because it suggests Sherman is going through a serious struggle with mental health and alcohol abuse, and because it revealed that the 911 dispatcher showed an appalling lack of sensitivity to what Sherman’s wife was going through.
“I need officers to my house now. My husband is drunk and belligerent and threatened to kill himself,” the caller, who identified herself as Ashley Sherman, said at the beginning of the call, which was obtained by KIRO in Seattle.
Immediately, the 911 dispatcher told Ashley Sherman to stop talking, then asked her for the address and whether there were any weapons.
Ashley Sherman tried to answer and the dispatcher admonished her, “You didn’t let me finish. You need to stop interrupting.”
As Ashley Sherman attempted to convey that Richard Sherman had tried to fight her uncle, the dispatcher seemed more interested in nitpicking her choice of words.
“Trying to fight somebody and actually being physical is two different things,” the dispatcher said.
While on the phone with 911, Ashley Sherman was also shouting to Richard Sherman.
“Richard, please stop!” Ashley Sherman said repeatedly.
As Ashley Sherman pleaded with the 911 dispatcher to send help, the dispatcher seemed more concerned with Ashley’s tone than with the unfolding emergency.
“I am handling this. You need to stop telling me that,” the dispatcher said.
When someone else in the house tried to give information about how intoxicated Sherman was to 911, the dispatcher said in a condescending tone, “Sir, I only need to talk to one person.”
Sherman and his family clearly need help. And the King County Sheriff’s Office clearly needs better training for its 911 dispatchers.