Media demand DC open hearing related to Mills

WASHINGTON — Media outlets are demanding the D.C. government open the administrative hearings concerning the death of Medric “Cecil” Mills.

Media, including WTOP, made the request Wednesday in a letter to the D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and Deputy Mayor Paul A. Quander.

A lieutenant with D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services went before a trial board on Wednesday for charges related to the neglect of Mills, who collapsed with a heart attack Jan. 26, right across the street from Engine 26.

People who witnessed his emergency tried desperately to get help from firefighters at the station, but no one at the station provided Mills, 77, help and he ultimately died.

But the trial board opened the hearing by announcing it voted unanimously to close the proceeding to the media and the public.

In the letter, attorney Laurin H. Mills writes:

I represent WUSA-TV9, WRC-TV, WNEW, WJLA, WTOP, WAMU and the Washington Post. I write with regard to the investigation concerning the death of Medric “Cecil” Mills. It is my understanding that an administrative hearing relating to the investigation was closed to the press and the public today. The hearing was supposedly closed at the last minute for “cause,” but it is my understanding that no explanation of the cause was provided. This action was in violation of District of Columbia law.

The March 19 letter goes on to say the following:

To avoid unnecessary expense and the possible disruption of the hearing, please either open the meeting to the press immediately or explain the “cause” that you believe justifies closing the hearing. Also, please immediately provide me with any minutes or transcript of today’s hearing.

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