Ohio fire lieutenant filmed spraying man with hose suspended for 80 hours
Akron Fire Department officials said additional training has been made available across the department in response to the incident
Akron Beacon Journal
AKRON, Ohio — An Akron fire lieutenant was suspended for 80 hours without pay after using a fire hose to spray a man filming a crime scene.
The Beacon Journal learned of the discipline on Monday through a records request fulfilled by the city of Akron. The Akron Fire Department had previously refused to disclose what discipline was administered. The firefighter, who has no history of discipline issues since his 2005 hire, also is undergoing additional training following the incident.
On March 27, a local activist was filming a crime scene after a fatal stabbing near Haven of Rest Ministries when a firefighter washing off the sidewalk asked the man to move. The man complied and walked backward.
About 15 seconds later, the firefighter turns the hose and sprays the man for a few seconds. The firefighter can be heard saying, "It's a crime scene, dude."
The video was uploaded to the man’s YouTube channel. The department, records show, was flooded with emails even before local media covered the incident.
In his statement on the incident, the lieutenant wrote that he told the man filming to stay back several times. He also wrote that he couldn’t hear the man filming over the sound of the fire engine and hose.
“Therefore, water was sprayed in his direction at the same time letting him know this is a crime scene and to stay back and again stating the water is contaminated.”
Statements from two other firefighters describe a situation similar to what was seen on video.
According to records, the firefighter who sprayed the man was put on administrative leave on March 29, the Monday after the incident. On April 8, he was given a suspension, which he has since served.
Public Information Officer Lt. Sierjie Lash said in April that the department wouldn't publicize what the discipline was, since it was against the department’s policy.
Lash said additional training has been made available across the department, and that it’s taking steps to make sure no firefighters believe such behavior is acceptable.
(c)2021 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)