News10NBC Investigates: Video shows EMT for AMR ambulance company using the N-word on way to call

EMT Uses Racial Slur

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A video shared with News10NBC recorded an AMR EMT saying the N-word as he and another EMT went to a call on the morning of Jan. 3, 2024.

As the ambulance went through the intersection of Mount Hope Avenue and East Henrietta Road with its sirens on, the video shows the EMT sitting in the passenger seat and looking out the passenger window in the direction of a blue car.

“That’s a (N-word),” the video records the EMT saying. “I’m sorry. I don’t give a (expletive).”

The EMT no longer works for AMR.

The ambulance recording includes a synched camera shot inside the rig and one that shows where the ambulance was going. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative reporter Berkeley Brean emailed the media office of AMR on Monday at 6:23 p.m., Tuesday at 2:34 p.m. and again Wednesday at 1:42 p.m.

At 2:12 p.m. Wednesday, AMR’s parent company, Global Medical Response, emailed:

“We are aware of a video showing a former employee using unacceptable and offensive language. We want to make it unequivocally clear that AMR does not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. The behavior displayed in the video is against our core values and code of conduct. We deeply regret the hurt and distress this incident has caused and reaffirm our dedication to upholding the highest standards of conduct and professionalism.”

Global Medical Response

Brean contacted the union that represents AMR EMTs. The union rep said he is not authorized to comment on the incident. 

Based on a comparison of the ambulance video and News10NBC’s own video, the ambulance was traveling south on Mount Hope Avenue, then turned slightly left onto East Henrietta Road, then took the first left on Rosemount Street. The video ends before the ambulance reaches its destination.

AMR is already under investigation by the New York State Department of Health for an incident on Nov. 30, 2023 in which EMTs asked Rochester Police officers to remove a Black man from the back of an ambulance after the EMTs said he physically grabbed one of them.

The man, who has not been publicly identified, collapsed on the sidewalk 20 seconds later and was left on the sidewalk for two minutes and 20 seconds before he received any aid. The man died two and a half weeks later in the hospital from an undisclosed reason.

On Friday, Jan. 19th, AMR’s parent company released the following statement on that incident:

American Medical Response (AMR) extends our deepest condolences to the family of the patient involved in the event that occurred on November 30, 2023. 
AMR recognizes the complex healthcare challenges that vulnerable populations in our communities face. We understand that we cannot fully resolve these challenges in isolation, which is why we are committed to engaging with the community, faith leaders, and our partners in care to enhance the quality and safety of the services we provide for the Rochester community.

We are taking immediate action to address the community’s concerns and frustration regarding this event. While patient privacy laws limit our ability to discuss the specific details of the incident, we have taken several steps in line with our commitment to transparency and accountability.
Within 24 hours of viewing the city’s body camera video footage of the incident, AMR independently contacted the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS and Trauma Systems and requested a formal investigation. Their team started gathering information and conducting interviews with all involved AMR employees on January 16. We were told that their investigation could take up to 90 days to complete. Additionally, the City of Rochester is conducting an independent investigation, and we have a direct and ongoing line of communication with City leadership.
The crew involved in the November 30 incident remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of all investigations. We are working closely with SEIU Local 200 to ensure the investigative process is thorough, respecting all the guidelines set forth in our collective bargaining agreement.
Internally, AMR’s national patient safety team is conducting a detailed review of the event and is evaluating our operational protocols, policies, procedures, and training, along with human factors. This review began on January 17. At its conclusion, we will promptly implement the necessary changes. We remain unwavering in our commitment to the Rochester community and are focused on continuous improvement to provide the highest quality of care and support for all those we serve.

The City of Rochester released the following statement:

“City officials became aware of a recent incident involving an AMR employee using a racial epithet after seeing it in a local news broadcast. We are disappointed that, yet again, we are dealing with a level of racism in our community by first responders – professionals whom the public relies on in their most vulnerable moments. AMR leaders assure us that they are focused on improving the culture of their organization, and already ending this person’s employment with the company was one important step.”