Florida officials say two paramedics got involved in a “selfie war” by taking pictures with incapacitated or unconscious patients.
In a news release, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said that 24-year old Kayla Renee Dubois was arrested on Thursday. She was charged with two counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications.
Christopher Wimmer, 33, also turned himself in to the police. He was wanted on seven counts of the same charge. Wimmer also faces a misdemeanor battery charge for holding a patient’s eyelid open during one incident. “Investigators say he also posed with an elderly woman with her breast exposed,” the news release said.
According to the release, the two were wanted in “connection with an investigation that revealed they used their cell phones to take selfies and videos with patients inside ambulances for their own amusement as part of a ‘selfie war’ competition.” The defendants had been challenging one another to produce more selfies and to “step up” their competition.
In all, a total of 41 patients were identified. Two have since died and three instances appeared to be consensual, police said. Of the remaining 36 patients, 19 are female and 17 are male—ranging in age from 24 to 86. Five are homeless, the sheriff’s office said.
“Some of the data was shared by phone with other EMS and non-EMS personnel, however the investigator says overall a very small number of EMS personnel were sent the images and videos by the defendants,” the office added.
The investigation was launched in May when county public safety officials received complaints from other EMS workers.
Dubois was fired a week after the allegations, and Wimmer resigned on the same day, reported the Pensacola News Journal.
“I think it was a sick, juvenile game,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley told the newspaper. It’s unclear if either Dubois or Wimmer hired an attorney.