DC firefighters, EMS workers on leave after brawl video goes viral; 'combative' man has charges dropped
A man who was arrested in connection with a brawl involving firefighters has had assault charges against him dropped, the Washington Post reported.
"On April 25, DC Fire Fighters were providing care to a patient when they were violently attacked by a person, forcing the fire fighters to defend themselves and the helpless patient under their care," the D.C. Firefighters Association, International Association of Firefighters Local 36 said in press release.
"Local 36 is not going to pass judgment or make assumptions on the actions of the members until all facts are known."
Images captured Tuesday by a WUSA photographer show DC Fire and EMS staff in a violent interaction with 43-year-old Charles Simpkins II, near the intersection of Florida Avenue Northwest and North Capitol Street Northwest, the outlet reported.
Emergency workers were called to the scene to address a crash, WRC-TV reported.
Simpkins had crawled under a bus, grabbed a wheel, and refused to let go, witnesses told the outlet.
A brawl ensued after Simpkins, who was described as "belligerent and combative," punched the fire lieutenant in charge in the face.
In one widely-circulated video, uniformed workers are seen throwing punches, with one firefighter delivering a kick while the man was on the ground.
A statement from DC Fire and EMS acquired by NBC's Washington affiliate, WRC-TV approached the topic differently than Local 36.
"The actions depicted in a video of the incident are completely unacceptable and do not reflect the behavior we require of our members," the statement from DC Fire and EMS said.
Local 36 union president David Hoagland framed the incident as firefighters defending the lieutenant.
"I think they were trying to help their lieutenant who had been assaulted. You know, our members are routinely placed in some of these unsafe situations from day to day and, unfortunately, on the scenes of these emergencies they can escalate quickly before the police have a chance to arrive to assist us," Hoagland said, as reported by WRC-TV.
The six DC workers involved were placed on administrate leave, pending an investigation by D.C. police and the fire department's internal affairs unit.
Though Simkins was initially arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer, D.C. Superior Court records show the case against him was dropped the next day, the Washington Post reported.
Watch WUSA's coverage below of the Tuesday night brawl involving D.C. fire and EMS workers.
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