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Pennsylvania Paramedic Seeks To Have Obstruction Charges Dropped

The lawyer for a Lower Burrell paramedic  wants a Westmoreland County judge to dismiss two criminal charges lodged against her for interfering with police during an emergency call in April.

In court documents filed yesterday, defense attorney Jim Fox said county prosecutors were overzealous in filing two misdemeanor charges against paramedic Jodi L. Kerr-Rummel, 31, of Derry, who was trying to prevent police officers from using a stun gun against her patient.

Kerr-Rummel was charged with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct when she intervened during a police action on April 9. Police and paramedics were called to assist with an involuntary mental health commitment of a woman in Lower Burrell.

Police were called after the woman's boyfriend said he received text messages from her threatening suicide.

The woman became unruly as police attempted to remove her from her home. Kerr-Rummel, who also responded to the scene, is accused of jumping in between police officers and the woman.

"She was there as a medical professional, and her objective was to try to keep the woman calm and agree to go with them for an evaluation," Fox said in an interview yesterday.

Police claimed the paramedic "muscled in," interfered and ignored requests for her to leave the room, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing before District Judge Cheryl Yakopec.

Kerr-Rummel's arms became "entangled" with the woman's arms, which temporarily prevented police from using a stun gun to subdue her, the defense motion said.

Police eventually were able to use it on the woman and end the altercation. The woman was charged with aggravated assault, harassment and resisting arrest.

"I still find it somewhat incredulous the police response is to Taser this woman," Fox said.

In the court filing, he contends there is not enough evidence to prove a crime was committed by Kerr-Rummel.

Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti declined to discuss the case yesterday.

Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec is scheduled to hear evidence on Feb. 15 on the defense's request to terminate the case.



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