A former Harris County, Texas, 911 operator has been sentenced to jail after being found guilty of hanging up on “thousands” of citizens calling in emergencies.
Crenshanda Williams will serve 10 days in jail and face 18 months of probation for the crimes.
Williams was busted after it was found that she had an abnormal number of calls that lasted less than 20 seconds. Investigators discovered that she was systematically hanging up on people.
In one noteworthy incident, Jim Moten called 911 to report two vehicles racing on the same highway stretch where fatalities had occurred weeks earlier. Before Moten was even able to explain his emergency to Williams, who answered, she told him, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” and cut off the call.
Moten reacted in court documents, saying, “If someone calls in to report an incident whether the person feels this is an emergency or not, you should have time for it. This is a person that probably doesn’t need this job.”
Another incident that caught the attention of law enforcement was when citizen Hua Li called 911 while Williams was on duty. After walking into a store and hearing yelling that there was a robbery going on, Li witnessed a suspect with a gun and recalled five to six gunshots being fired.
Li ran to his car and called 911 while driving away. According to court documents, Williams answered Li’s first call and immediately hung up. When Li called a second time, Williams answered, “Houston 911, do you need medical, police or fire?” He responded, “This is a robbery.”
Williams sighed and hung up on the caller a second time.
On Li’s third 911 call to report the incident, he reached a different operator and was able to report what he witnessed. By the time officers arrived on the scene of the robbery, the store manager — a father of four who was expecting his first grandchild — was found dead.
Following Williams’ sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said in a statement: “The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need. When a public servant betrays the community’s trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable.”