Firefighter pleads guilty to assaulting bicyclist during argument

Charles Mudra was sentenced to probation for grabbing and tackling bicyclist advocate Austin Davis at a community meeting about a bike lane

By FireRescue1 Staff

BALTIMORE — A firefighter pleaded guilty to assaulting a bicyclist when an argument erupted at a community meeting.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore Fire Department firefighter Charles Mudra, a 10-year veteran of the department, was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for grabbing and tackling Austin Davis at a meeting about a bike lane.

A bicyclist uses a Baltimore bike lane. (Photo/Bikemore)
A bicyclist uses a Baltimore bike lane. (Photo/Bikemore)

Davis is a city employee and bicycling advocate, and the incident highlights the ongoing dispute between the fire department and those pushing for the installation of a bike lane.

The dispute began in 2017 when residents grew concerned about a lack of room for emergency vehicles after a bike lane was installed.

City officials planned to remove the lane until Bikemore, a bicycling advocacy group, sued the city and stopped the action.

A video was then recorded in June by fire department officials showing how difficult it is to maneuver a fire truck on a street with bike lanes. Bikemore Executive Director Liz Cornish said the demonstration was conducted outside of her home in an effort to intimidate her, but Chief Niles Ford said he had no idea she lived there.

A bill was passed by Baltimore City Council last week to remove a fire code section that requires 20- and 26-foot street clearances, but Mayor Catherine Pugh has not signed the bill yet.

The incident between Mudra and Davis occurred at a meeting about the bill, and the argument began when Davis started recording Mudra with his phone, prompting Mudra to slap the phone out of Davis’ hand and grab him before they fell to the ground together.

Fire Department spokesman Chief Roman Clark said Mudra is still an employee of the department.

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