02-14-2008, 12:07 PM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Police fined for Arresting Fire Fighter
We've talked so much about this kind of thing, I thought you would be interested in this result
02-14-2008, 12:15 PM #2
The captain shouldn't have been arrested in the first place, but if the officer felt the need to arrest him he should have waited until the patient was packaged and on their way to the hospital. The LEO is only making the PT suffer.
02-14-2008, 12:15 PM #3
Text of the Story
Here is the full text of the story...
Hazelwood officer fined $18,000 for arresting firefighter on emergency call
10:24 AM CST on Thursday, February 14, 2008
(KMOV) -- A police officer in Hazelwood will have to pay thousands of dollars for getting into it with a firefighter while he was trying to help an accident victim.
News 4 obtained police video that shows the Hazelwood police officer arresting a fire captain while he's trying to move an injured driver.
Watch raw video from the dashcam
It happened on Interstate 270 back in May of 2003.
Officer Todd Greeves wanted a fire truck moved to open up another lane of traffic.
The Robertson Fire Protection District Captain wanted the truck there to protect emergency workers.
Officer Greeves has been ordered to pay $18,000.
His attorney says he's disappointed and that his client's conduct was not malicious in any way.
02-14-2008, 12:19 PM #4
Although the $18,000 fine seems a little steep (what agency fined him?)... this guy deserves punishment. Watch the dash cam video! The captain is under arrest in less than a minute after arriving on scene! What on earth can a fire captain say in less than 60 seconds while patient care is occurring that is worthy of being arrested on the spot?
02-14-2008, 12:28 PM #5
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
I found another article that said this was a judgement from a Federal Civil Rights Violation Trial.
Under State Law the Police Officer was immune for official acts so the Fire Captain sued him in Federal Court, and won.
02-14-2008, 12:31 PM #6
Hopefully (probably not), this will set a legal precedent that will stop this foolishness of not wanting to close a highway by LEO's.
02-14-2008, 12:31 PM #7
I would really love to hear the audio of this.
02-14-2008, 12:34 PM #8
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
When a nun thinks you've done wrong... well, you've done wrong.
Jury awards $17,500 to fireman arrested at scene of accident
By Robert Patrick
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Hazelwood — Federal court jurors awarded $17,500 on Wednesday to a fire captain arrested by a Hazelwood police officer in a dispute over where a firetruck was parked during a 2003 car crash rescue.
Juror Betsy Vennemann said after the verdict, "We wanted to make a statement that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."
Capt. David Wilson won $7,500 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages. Jurors, including a nun, said they went easy on the defendant, Officer Todd Greeves, because he has a family and they weren't sure who would pay the bill.
Wilson testified that the Robertson Fire Protection District truck was parked in a way to protect rescuers working to free a victim from wreckage along Interstate 270 at McDonnell Boulevard.
Greeves ordered that the truck be moved to accommodate passing traffic and arrested Wilson for ignoring him. Wilson was released after 23 minutes and never charged. He sued, claiming civil rights violations that opened him to anxiety and humiliation.
Greeves told the court the truck was creating a hazard and not adding to safety at the scene.
Jurors interviewed after the verdict said their feeling about Greeves was reinforced during the punitive phase of the trial, when they heard there had been other complaints about him. An internal affairs investigation determined that Greeves used excessive force in a 2002 arrest, court documents show, and was the subject of several other complaints.
Before Wednesday's deliberations, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler had already ruled that Greeves had no probable cause to arrest Wilson, who she said had state law on his side. She also dismissed the city of Hazelwood as a defendant.
"The whole police and fire communities have been watching this case," said Bevis Schock, one of Wilson's lawyers. "Everybody wanted to know who controls the fire scene."
Greeves' lawyer, Peter Dunne, said he was disappointed in the verdict and the discussion of the other complaints against Greeves. Dunne also said it was unfair to suggest that Greeves did not care about the firefighters' safety.
Dunne said that the city's insurance would not pay for the costs and that the issue is "complicated." Schock said he thinks the insurance probably would pay the compensatory damages, and possibly the punitive. Also at issue is payment of unspecified lawyers' fees.
Spokespersons for the fire district and Hazelwood police could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
02-14-2008, 12:34 PM #9
It's coming...I don't know when ...I don't know where.....but it will be here soon...IACOJ Membership 2002
The beatings will continue until the morale improves
02-14-2008, 12:43 PM #10
Nice. Finally someone is made the example.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
02-14-2008, 12:44 PM #11
I see this as the beginning of some more trials. Also it's pretty bad i know exactly where that happened at.
02-14-2008, 12:49 PM #12
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
A shame that power corrupts some people and the mission gets lost.
Last edited by FyredUp; 02-14-2008 at 12:52 PM.
02-14-2008, 12:59 PM #13
02-14-2008, 01:02 PM #14
correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the fire dept have command on an incident like this?
02-14-2008, 01:06 PM #15
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Aren't we on the same team any more? How many tragic stories have we read about cops and firefighters being killed by traffic at scenes? It's too bad it had to come to that.
Last edited by rcgregor; 12-05-2009 at 08:03 PM.
02-14-2008, 01:15 PM #16
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
02-14-2008, 01:16 PM #17
First, this should NEVER be decided on the side of the road with patient care ongoing.
The judgement was against the officer, not the city/PD. The organizations won their case. The officer lost because he didn't have state law on his side. It is interesting that once his supervisor got onscene, the captain was uncuffed and released without charges. To me, that says the supervisor knew a major F-up has just occurred. His actions also probably saved the PD and town from being on the losing side as well.
It is VERY important to remember about this case is that Missouri law supported the FD officer's actions. That's not going to be the case in every state. In Alabama, the State Trooper owns the road. In 10 years I have only had one very minor encounter over apparatus placement and it was resolved professionally after the incident had been mitigated but it is in fact his road.
For those in Missouri FDs, congrats. You've got a legal precedent that should prevent future problems. For everyone else, make sure you know YOUR state laws before you find yourself with some nice new silver jewelry.
02-14-2008, 01:21 PM #18
Absolutely unbelievable!!!! What a knob.
Thnkfully it can't happen here in the UK, we can decide to close a road down and the Police have to comply if they haven't seen fit to close it themselves...this came into law as part of the 2004 Fire & Rescue Services act because of similar arguments.
I Have to say, you Guys (or this Guy) was very restrained... if a cop tried that on me whilst a a job he'd have had a fight on his hands...then be calling for back up when all 12 of us were climbing all over him like a rash!!! Maybe becuase our Cops are generally not armed?Steve Dude
London Fire Brigade...."Can Do"
'Irony'... It's a British thing.
02-14-2008, 01:39 PM #19What on earth can a fire captain say in less than 60 seconds while patient care is occurring that is worthy of being arrested on the spot?
02-14-2008, 01:50 PM #20I Have to say, you Guys (or this Guy) was very restrained... if a cop tried that on me whilst a a job he'd have had a fight on his hands...then be calling for back up when all 12 of us were climbing all over him like a rash!!! Maybe becuase our Cops are generally not armed?
02-14-2008, 02:24 PM #21
02-14-2008, 02:27 PM #22
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
I'm just glad we had good relationship with the state police. They would stand out in the traffic lane of I-95 and hold their hand up to stop traffic when we needed to pull out. It was an "I dare you to hit me" attitude. We used to also restock our flares from them as they always seemed to have several CASES in their trunk.
02-14-2008, 02:43 PM #23
Of course, a lot of our local FF's will argue, "well, there's always a chance of fire or explosion, so we're always in charge! Besides, why else would the FD be there?". Of course, the LEO's will argue that they go to 1000 more accidents than we do, and have yet to see a car spontaneously combust when the FD wasn't there. Creates quite a conundrum, ya think?Career Fire Captain
Volunteer Chief Officer
Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!
02-14-2008, 02:45 PM #24
- Join Date
- May 2000
- SW MO
I thought better of it, but screw it. I'm sure I'm going to **** some people off, but I'll be the one to say that by what the in-car camera shows (note this disclaimer before you start on the "we can't see the whole scene" stuff) the officer was absolutely right that the lane didn't need to be blocked. Having said that, I do not believe arresting the captain was the right course of action. However, I will point out you can see a "discussion" happening between the two before the bracelets are applied; I'm curious what the captain and officer had to say there.
Now, here's my reasoning...
First of all, it's obvious that EMS is already on scene (there's a cot there) and the LEOs (there's two there it looks like) have the lane that they are working in blocked to provide some sort of protection. They have an apparent accident on the shoulder of a 4-lane interstate (and before you ask, I am familiar with this streatch of road, by brother lives in the St. Louis area) with an on-ramp to the right (likely two-lane on-ramp).
Then in comes the knights in PBI armor, dismounting the apparatus while it's still moving (please tell me I'm not the only one that noticed this stupid stunt). These guys decide to block another lane in which no operations are being undertaken, decreasing it to a 70 mph two-lane handling 4-lanes worth of traffic. There's no equipment there, there's no personnel there (other than the guys walking around the truck in dismay), and frankly, there's no reason for the truck to be there.
On that particular scene, the fire apparatus would have been better served being positioned behind the police cruisers. We've all seen the videos where a cruiser is pushed quite a distance if hit, particularly if it's by a large vehicle like a tractor-trailer. We also all know that a fire apparatus is heavier and provides for better protection, which is why we place it in a "blocking" position. Placing the apparatus right beside you does jack to protect your people and only increases the risk of a secondary accident, particularly on a high-traffic interstate.
I will also mention, since Missouri law has been brought up, that there have been two lawsuits in the St. Louis area against FD's liabilities in secondary accidents. In both cases, the FD's were found partially liable for the damages incurred due to their lack of appropriate traffic control. One such case involved blocking a lane of traffic that did not need to be blocked for operations. The other was due to the lack of traffic control devices. And no, I do not have links to the cases. This was relayed to me from instructors for a train-the-trainer class I had on traffic control who were from the area (part of the reason the class was written); both were overly familiar with the cases, though.
While Missouri law didn't support the officers actions in the arrest, they did not necessarily support the captain's actions, either. And it's hardly a legal precedent that warrants a "congrats"; in my eyes it's an embarassment for both fire and law enforcement in the area.
02-14-2008, 02:46 PM #25
Gotta agree with you Noz, the Captain did a good job of keeping cool. Most wouldnt be quite that coolBuck
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