Who can put a price on human life? According to a grand jury report: the brothers of Baruch College’s Pi Delta Psi fraternity, who googled the cost of an ambulance as a pledge lay dying before determining such medical assistance would be too expensive.
The New York Times obtained the report, which details the evidence that resulted in indictments against 37 members of the fraternity after a 19-year-old pledge, Michael Deng, died during a 2013 hazing event.
The details of the attack are awful, and the justifications that followed are equally gruesome—rather than seeking help for Deng, who had passed out, the fraternity brothers reportedly googled head injury symptoms and researched the cost of an ambulance before determining it would be too expensive.
After they were done tackling him, Mr. Deng’s brothers carried him inside the two-story home. His body felt like a “dead weight,” one member later told the police, according to the grand jury report. Another described it as “straight like a board.”
He was laid down near the fireplace and stripped of the black hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants that were his uniform for the initiation. They put him in a blanket, then gave him water and chocolate and put sugar on his lips to try waking him up.
After 10 minutes, Mr. Deng “started sucking air and making snoring sounds,” one member said. Some students noticed his pupils did not dilate.
They reached out to the fraternity’s national president at the time, Andy Meng, who told them by phone to hide everything showing the group’s symbol, according to the grand jury report. One member told the police that “the protocol is to first put away fraternity letters, paddles, banners etc.,” to shield the organization.
The brothers grew nervous, but not nervous enough to call an ambulance.
“Kwan stated no one called for an ambulance because someone looked it up and the bill/cost was too high,” the grand jury report says, citing the account of Kenny Kwan, who prosecutors say will be charged with murder in the tackling on Mr. Deng that started with a 15-foot running head start.
Instead, they pulled up their cellphones’ browsers and searched for terms like “Concussion can’t wake up,” “snoring but not waking up” and “pupils don’t dilate.” One member asked for advice from a friend whose grandfather had recently fallen and died.
Eventually three brothers drove Deng to the hospital but it was too late: his injuries were so severe a doctor reportedly determined they were caused by “hundreds of pounds of impulsive loads,” and Deng was later pronounced dead.
At least five brothers have been charged with murder, so I guess you can put a price on human life: life imprisonment.