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Cops Dawdled as Kids Died, Aunt Says

WASHINGTON (CN) - District of Columbia police officers listened to the screams of children and their mother being stabbed to death for an hour while they waited for permission to break down the door, the children's aunt claims in Federal Court.

Kimberly Trimble says her sister, niece and nephew were stabbed to death in their D.C. apartment by Joseph Randolph Mays. She claims the police officers heard the screams of her family as Mays killed them.

Trimble claims the Metropolitan Police Department had dispatched officers to her sister's apartment before on domestic violence and child abuse calls, but when officers were sent to answer her nephew's 911 call in March 2009, they knocked on the door and waited outside, listening to what sounded like a child screaming, "No, stop, don't!"

"Despite the foregoing history, known to the District of Columbia, and despite knowing that an apparent assault involving a child is continuing inside the apartment, and for reasons that are inexplicable, the officers did not force entry to the apartment for at least an hour despite knowing someone, quite likely a child could be injured inside," Trimble says in her complaint.

Trimble says the officers contacted the 911 operator, who told them that the call was made by a screaming child who was possibly playing. But when they finally breached the door they found 10-year-old Dakota Peters bleeding to death on the floor. Her mother, Erika Peters, and 11-year-old brother, Erik Peters, were already dead from multiple stab wounds.

Trimble sued the District of Columbia, the Metropolitan Police Department and unnamed officers for negligence, failure to respond, failure to protect and wrongful death. She also sued Mays, who has been "charged with 3 counts of 1st degree murder," according to the complaint.

Trimble wants $60 million in damages.

She is represented by Donald Terrell.

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