Washington, DC – Two members of the DC Fire Department (DCFD) have been charged with assault after a video of them beating and kicking a man at a fire scene went viral (video below).
The incident occurred on April 25 when DCFD and EMS were dispatched to the unit block of Florida Avenue, NW, for a problem that occurred on a Metrobus, WTOP reported.
The police report said that when first responders arrived on the scene, they encountered two men who appeared to be under the influence of unknown narcotics.
A 43-year-old man who happened to be on the scene punched one of the firefighters in the face, WTOP reported.
The police report said that was what started the altercation.
Court documents said the man started “punching a fence and became upset at DCFEMS members,” WTOP reported.
He also tried to interfere with the EMS personnel on the scene who were trying to provide medical help to the two people under the influence, according to the police report.
Then he hit 48-year-old DCFD Lieutenant Sean Sinon in the face, twice, WTOP reported.
That’s when firefighters “intervened and encircled” the violent man, according to court documents.
Video showed Lt. Sinon appeared to swing on the man who had struck him about seven times, WTOP reported.
“He started so much s–t, they jumped him,” a witness off camera said in the background of the police bodycam footage of the incident.
Charging documents named Lt. Sinon and 21-year-old DCFD Firefighter Reden Ecleo as having assaulted the man, WTOP reported.
“The complainant was on his back with a DCFEMS member on top of him who appeared to have his arms/hands on the complaint’s (sic) body. Several DCFEMS members were on and around the complainant struggling with him attempting to stop his assaultive behavior,” the complaint read.
The charging documents said Firefighter Ecleo “appeared to kick” the man in the head area and had his knee on the man’s head, while Lt. Sinon appeared to punch him twice, according to WTOP.
Prosecutors alleged the beating went on until DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers arrived on the scene.
The complaint said that both Firefighter Ecleo and Lt. Sinon “had to be pushed away by an MPD member,” WTOP reported.
A witness said that when the officers arrived on the scene, “they were pulling ambulance people off him because they were punching him.”
Firefighter Ecleo and Lt. Sinon said in statements to police that the more first responders had tried to help the two downed individuals who were the reason they’d initially responded to the scene, the “more irate the shirtless male became,” WTOP reported.
“He was demanding our attention and getting (within) inches of our faces and bodies,” they both said.
Witnesses reported having seen the man strike Lt. Sinon and said he continued to be “aggressive and resisting” even after police arrived, WTOP reported.
DC Fire and EMS officials put out a statement after the video went viral condemning their employees’ behavior at the scene.
They called the firefighters’ actions “completely unacceptable” and said they didn’t reflect “the behavior we require of our members,” WTOP reported.
DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36 President David Hoagland said he was disappointed that prosecutors decided to charge Firefighter Ecleo and Lt. Sinon, WTOP reported.
“These firefighters reacted quickly to a dangerous situation to protect the citizens and themselves,” Hoagland said in a statement.
He said he felt that it was important to clarify that DC firefighters’ training “does not include strategies for de-escalating situations of physical violence — an unfortunate reality they found themselves in during this instance,” WTOP reported.
DCFD spokesman Vito Maggiolo said the six firefighters involved in the bruhaha have been place on administrative leave while investigations are conducted by DC police and the fire department’s internal affairs unit, The Washington Post reported.
The man the firefighters were accused of assaulting was initially arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer.
Two DC firefighters turning themselves into police today to face assault charges stemming from a brawl caught on camera back in April pic.twitter.com/ioPdKUy1ok
— Randi Ayala (@RandiAyalaTV) June 13, 2023
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW: waiting on 2 DC firefighters to turn themselves into police. Dept spokesperson tells us they’re being charged for brawl caught on cam from April. Details on @wusa9 right now pic.twitter.com/N6xo1i4dsz
— Randi Ayala (@RandiAyalaTV) June 13, 2023
However, Superior Court records showed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia ultimately declined to prosecute the man who hit Lt. Sinon and the charges were dropped, according to The Washington Post.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
DC Firefighters Said These Hands Fight Fire Too 😩😩
— Roc Nation Refugee (@Pragmatism14) April 27, 2023