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Firefighter gets duty change after accusation of beating

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The Fire Department has assigned a firefighter to nonemergency duty after he was accused of fighting with a civilian while responding to a call Sunday in Waimanalo.

Glen Murray, a 52-year-old Kailua man, said the firefighter punched him about 10 times in the head and that he was bloodied and treated at the Queen’s Medical Center.

The accused firefighter had been assigned to the Waimanalo Fire Station and was a crew member of Engine 27, which responded to a report of a possible brush fire behind Waimanalo District Park, Capt. Terry Seelig said.

"The crew discovered that there was an unauthorized cooking fire and questioned the people involved," he said.

"Right now there are conflicting reports of fighting between an HFD firefighter and a civilian at the scene," Seelig said.

Because of these allegations, the department immediately called police and began an internal in vestigation, he said.

The firefighter will remain on administrative assignment until an internal investigation is completed.

Murray said the alleged assault was unprovoked.

He said he had put out a charcoal fire about a half-hour before firefighters arrived after a barbecue in his ex-girlfriend’s back yard, which borders the park.

Murray said he was sitting alone in the yard after a family party for his son’s high school graduation when he saw the firefighters, flashing lights and sirens.

He said he went up to the fire engine and explained to the driver that he had been barbecuing and pointed to the grill.

The firefighter "jumped out of the seat, rushed me and he slammed me to the ground and tackled me," he said.

"While he was on top of my body, he started punching my head and face and neck area," he said. "After about 10 blows to my head, I was able to push him off my body."

He contends he did not fight back.

Murray says he is also upset at the inaction of the rest of the crew, who stood silently by.

He said he had lumps on his head, cuts on his neck and face and suffered headache, dizziness and blurred vision, and went to Queen’s where he gave a statement to a police officer.

He filed a police report and said he also reported the incident to the Fire Department and the city complaints office.

In a written statement, Fire Chief Kenneth Silva said, "We take any allegation of fighting seriously and will take appropriate action if allegations are found to be true. We also take the safety of firefighters very seriously and will take any steps needed to protect our firefighters from unjustified or offensive use of force."

 

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