Sgt. Eichhorn should still be fired. Someone that callous has no business being in any position of authority over the public. She also has had ethics issues in the past (see below), which is another reason she needs to go.
"The Orlando Sentinel reviewed Eichhorn's personnel file last week, and it was unblemished, but on Thursday the city produced more records, showing she had been disciplined in 1998.
"According to police records, Eichhorn had used a false name four times while working an off-duty job, something the Police Department concluded may have been a tax dodge designed to hide income. She was docked a week's pay, took a $40 pay cut and was banned from off-duty jobs for six months."
Cop ends slip-and-fall lawsuit as public cries foul
The Casselberry sergeant who sued a family after an injury was placed on leave.
Rene Stutzman |Sentinel Staff Writer
4:59 PM EDT, October 12, 2007
CASSELBERRY - The police sergeant who filed a slip-and-fall lawsuit against the family of a severely brain-damaged toddler is abandoning her case.
Amid heavy criticism from people angry about the suit, the Police Department began an internal investigation and placed Sgt. Andrea Eichhorn on paid leave Thursday. Shortly afterward, her attorney reported she was giving up her lawsuit.
And she did Friday, filing a formal notice of dismissal mid-day today.
Eichhorn, 35, had sued on Oct. 1, accusing Joey Cosmillo's family of negligence. Eichhorn was one of several officers sent to their home Jan. 9 after the boy's mother called 911 to report that her 1-year-old son had wandered into the backyard, fallen into the pool and nearly drowned.
The mother, Angela Cosmillo, had carried the boy inside, leaving a trail of water. Eichhorn slipped and fell in a puddle when she walked inside the home to join rescuers who resuscitated the boy.
She broke a kneecap and was off the job two months, but she returned to full duty months ago, and the city of Casselberry or its insurer covered all her medical costs and paid her full salary.
After a story appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday, hundreds of people inundated Casselberry City Hall and the Police Department with calls and e-mail, voicing their outrage about the suit.
The outcry got results: Late Thursday afternoon, attorney David Heil reported that Eichhorn was backing down.
"Ms. Eichhorn has decided to dismiss the suit," he said.
He would not comment further, and his client could not be reached for comment.
"I'm elated, of course," said an exhausted Richard Cosmillo, 69, the boy's grandfather and guardian. He had been inundated with calls for interviews while still spending hours each day with Joey, who cannot walk, talk, sit up or swallow.
The child, 22 months old, lives in a nursing home and breathes through a tube. He takes nourishment through a second tube.
"It really is an outrageous thing she was trying to do. Outrageous," Cosmillo said. "I just think that preying on people with such extreme injury is just, it's just not even human."
Wednesday, the day the story broke, Eichhorn worked part of her shift, supervising the agency's seven detectives, but she went home early.
On Thursday, she did not come in. In midafternoon, she got more bad news: Police Chief John Pavlis had filed a formal complaint against her, setting up the internal investigation.
It was prompted by the mass outpouring of criticism, said police Lt. Dennis Stewart, the Police Department spokesman. The chief did not accuse her of wrongdoing, Stewart said, but he asked the agency to re-examine the case.
The Orlando Sentinel reviewed Eichhorn's personnel file last week, and it was unblemished, but on Thursday the city produced more records, showing she had been disciplined in 1998.
According to police records, Eichhorn had used a false name four times while working an off-duty job, something the Police Department concluded may have been a tax dodge designed to hide income. She was docked a week's pay, took a $40 pay cut and was banned from off-duty jobs for six months.
Since news of the lawsuit broke, city officials have worked hard to distance themselves from it. Neither the city nor the Police Department is named in the suit, and city officials stressed that they had tried to talk Eichhorn out of filing it.
"We don't condone it," City Manager Barbara Lipscomb said.
It is important, she said, that Casselberry residents remain confident that if they call 911, the Police Department won't send an officer looking to sue them.
Even though Eichhorn plans to drop her suit, Lipscomb said the internal investigation would continue.
It's not clear how long it will last, Stewart said.
Cosmillo left his grandson's bedside at the nursing home about 7:15 p.m. Thursday. He said he would return today.
"I'll just keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "There's nothing more I can do: Hold him. Kiss him. Hug him. Talk to him."
Rene Stutzman can be reached at email@example.com or 407-324-7294.
An outrageous move
Our position: A cop's lawsuit against a family for her on-duty injury defied reason.
October 13, 2007
Greed has its limits, after all.
It took several days of complaints from an outraged public, but Casselberry Police Sgt. Andrea Eichhorn dropped her callous slip-and-fall lawsuit against the family of a severely brain-damaged toddler who nearly drowned last January.
Ms. Eichhorn responded to the 911 call and injured her knee when she slipped on a puddle of water left when the child was removed from the pool. Even though all her bills were covered by the city, she sued the family of Joey Cosmillo, piling more stress and anguish onto people already suffering through a horrible tragedy.
How could any public servant be so mean-spirited? She's on administrative leave now. Ms. Eichhorn might want to use the time to decide whether she's really cut out for public service.