CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - We are hearing tense moments behind the scenes from EMS crews through radio traffic for the first time, nearly six weeks after peaceful protests for the death of George Floyd turned violent in downtown Cleveland.
Streets were littered with debris, the smell of smoke hung in the air and business alarms blared as first responders tried to make their way downtown through the crowd of protesters to help.
19 Investigates just obtained the EMS radio traffic on May 30 through a public records request to the city.
We found it was a close call for one Cleveland EMS crew trying to help.
The incident involving an EMS captain began when he was called to help an injured man on Euclid Avenue at Jake’s.
“Sixty-year-old male, trauma to the head,” the dispatcher relayed over the radio.
Paramedics and EMTs headed downtown toward Public Square.
“I just want to know what they can see from up there, the safest route for us to get there at this point,” Captain 2 said to the dispatcher over the radio.
He asked her they could help him navigate the crowds.
Meanwhile a police chopper above communicated with the emergency operations center to help first responders on the ground.
A few minutes passed, and Captain 2 radioed in.
“We’re going to have to divert and find another way around. E. 9th is blocked at Huron. Also, somebody just threw something at my vehicle, not sure where it hit,” he said.
And then it started to get dicey.
“Captain 2, Captain 2, I need help immediately. Southern corner of Euclid, southern corner of Euclid. I’m surrounded, they’re throwing stuff, they’re about to break my window. Help, I need help!” Captain 2 said.
“We got ‘em en route,” the dispatcher replied.
The dispatcher told Captain 2 to get out if he could.
“Trying to get down to that location Captain 2,” the dispatcher said.
“They’re breaking all my windows out. I’m out, I’m out,” Captain 2 said.
“You’re going to need to see if CPD can get that patient out of there. It’s not safe for our crew to go down there right now,” Captain 2 said.
Then paramedics told the dispatcher they had the patient in their truck and they were going to pull off for safety reasons.
“Get out of the area Medic 1, get out of the area,” the dispatcher replied.
Captain 2 made it out OK.
His vehicle was badly damaged with broken windows, but it could have ended a lot worse.
No EMS crews were hurt during the protests.
19 Investigates spoke to a paramedic who was there that day and said he’s very proud of his coworkers for stepping up and making sure everyone was safe.