Probe launched into fireman handcuffed during call
NEW ROADS- Less than 24 hours after the News 2 Investigative Unit aired a story about a fireman getting handcuffed during a 911 call, the State Fire Marshal's Office launched an investigation into the incident.
It happened Monday night in the 100 block of Cherry Street. According to witnesses, a firefighter rendering aid during a medical call was asked to move his fire truck. The fire truck had flashing lights turned on and was parked on the side of the street. When he refused, a New Roads Police officer handcuffed and detained the fireman.
Surveillance video from the New Roads Housing Authority captured everything on camera. The video is time stamped and shows the fireman was placed in the police car for 22 minutes before he was removed.
Moments before he was detained, the firefighter was helping Amber Porter.
"I was walking toward the kitchen and just passed out," Porter said.
Porter's relative immediately dialed 911. Porter credits the firefighter who arrived first for helping her.
"I was laying on the floor," Porter said. "They was calling my name. He was trying to sit me up off the floor."
That's when Porter recalls a New Roads Police officer showing up at her door to have the fireman move his truck. Porter said when the officer asked the fireman to move the truck, he didn't bother to ask how she was doing. She said it concerns her that the police officer was more worried about a truck in the street than her medical issue.
Initially, New Roads Police Chief Kevin McDonald told News 2 the issue was resolved. Less than 24 hours later, he said his department will comply with the State Fire Marshal's investigation.
"I have tasked detectives today to begin that investigation," Deputy Chief Brant Thompson said. "They will be conducting interviews and other information concerning what is seen as a very unfortunate incident that occurred in New Roads."
Thompson said his detectives will determine if laws that protect firefighters during emergencies were broken. State law prohibits anyone from interfering, impeding or tampering with a firefighter or volunteer firefighter during an emergency.
"That is the purpose of the law we spoke of that prohibits anyone interfering with a fireman and performing his duties," Thompson said.
On Wednesday, New Roads Police Chief Kevin McDonald claimed the fireman made a sarcastic remark to his officer when he asked him to move his truck, which is why he was detained. McDonald reiterated that he has no plans to discipline the officer.
That doesn't sit well with Porter.
"I think he should get fired or suspended," Porter said. "Something should happen to him because who just arrests somebody? He was helping me. He wasn't just parking his car to park it."
The New Roads Fire Chief told News 2 he didn't want to comment because he has to work closely with the town police. He did say his firefighter did everything he was supposed to do.
It could take two weeks for the Fire Marshal's Office to complete their investigation.