Husband Of Phoenix 911 Operator Files $35 Million Notice After Her Death

Published: Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 12:59pm
Updated: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 2:43pm

The husband of a Phoenix 911 operator has filed a $35 million notice of claim against the city of Phoenix for gross negligence and wrongful death. A notice of claim is usually the first document filed before a lawsuit. 

KJZZ obtained the 14-page notice of claim from Jonathan Michaels, an attorney representing Pamela’s Cooper’s husband, Joel Cooper. The document details Pamela Cooper’s last shift at the Phoenix Police Communications Bureau on Feb. 26. 

Cooper, a 21-year veteran of the department, suffered from asthma throughout her life. She had recently returned to work after six weeks away recovering from COVID-19. She worked her regular 10-hour shifts for three days and on the fourth day, the notice says Cooper began having trouble breathing.

Despite complaining to her supervisor that she felt ill, had a bad cough and her oxygen level had significantly dropped, the claim alleges Cooper’s supervisor ordered her to work six hours of overtime for a total of 16 hours.

According to the notice, Cooper left work at 12:45 a.m. on Feb. 27 and less than nine hours later, collapsed at home and never regained consciousness. On March 5, Cooper was taken off life support. 

As KJZZ has reported, Phoenix has more than 50 openings in the 911 center, a vacancy rate of more than 20%.

The notice says city policy is for all employees who are sick at work to immediately go home but Cooper’s supervisor forced her to stay. 

In addition to negligent supervision, the notice alleges negligent hiring. It says Cooper’s supervisor had been fired from his job as a Phoenix police officer and had his peace officer certification revoked after an off-duty road rage incident, and the city knew or should have known he “was unfit and incompetent and at particular risk of disobeying his duties as a supervisor having been cited for being overly aggressive, and that this created a particular risk to others.”

In an email, a Phoenix spokesperson said: “The city of Phoenix received the notice of claim late Wednesday and is reviewing it. The city of Phoenix does not comment on pending litigation.”

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