There is an old saying that goes: What sets man apart from savages is how he conducts himself when he thinks no one is watching. Three NYPD officers abandoned an elderly senior in a smoke-filled hallway and left her to die -- because they apparently thought no one was watching.
Ethel Davis, 91, died of smoke inhalation a day after a blaze nearly gutted her apartment building in Rockaway Beach on Jan. 12.
Davis was trapped on the 12th floor when the fire broke out on the 11th floor under her apartment. The fire started after a halogen lamp tipped over in the apartment under hers.
Three NYPD officers stormed the building searching for survivors to rescue. Surveillance video footage obtained by the NY Post shows NYPD Sgt. Timothy Brovakos and two other officers carrying Davis out of her apartment and through a smoke-filled hallway.
One of the officers panicked and the other two dumped Davis in the hallway to assist their colleague down to the floor below. Rather than return to the upper floor for the defenseless grandma, the officers continued to assist their fellow officer to safety.
Within minutes, firefighters arrived on the 12th floor but they missed Davis in the thick smoke. She was eventually located and transported to a local hospital, where she died the next day.
Davis's daughter Marcia said she spotted her mother abandoned in the hallway but she was too heavy to carry.
"I told them she'd been safer in the [apartment] with the door closed and that she wouldn't survive in the hallway,' she told the New York Post.
"When I got to near the stairwell, I saw her on the floor. I said, 'Mama, what you doing here? Why they leave you here?'"
"I stayed with her as long as I could. It got so black, I was choking."
Marcia is considering filing legal action against the NYPD and the city.
The family's lawyer said the cops left the metal hallway door open, allowing smoke to pour into the hallway.
The cops defended their actions after word of the surveillance video hit the news over the weekend.
Brovakos' lawyer claims the sergeant risked his life to go back up to get Davis after he had regained his composure.
The NYPD is investigating the tragedy.