A Louisiana firefighter was handcuffed and detained for refusing to move his truck while responding to an emergency call Monday night. Surveillance video from the New Roads Housing Authority captured the incident on camera.
Amber Porter told WBRZ that she lost consciousness walking to the kitchen and that’s when her relative called 911. Fireman Edwards arrived first on the scene, followed closely by paramedics and a police officer.
When the police officer arrived, he asked Edwards to move his truck, which was parked in the street with the lights flashing. The fireman, who had been helping Amber Porter sit up only moments before, refused to move his truck. The police officer handcuffed him and detained him in the back of the police car for 22 minutes.
Porter said that the police officer didn’t bother to ask how she was doing. “I think he should get fired or suspended,” Porter told WBRZ. “Something should happen to him because who just arrests somebody? He was helping me. He wasn’t just parking his car to park it.”
Witness and neighbor Joyce Harris agreed that the officer should be fired and stated that the dispute was “an ego thing.”
Wednesday, Deputy Chief Brant Thompson announced an investigation to determine if laws designed to protect emergency responders have been broken.
“I have tasked detectives today to begin that investigation,” Thompson said. “They will be conducting interviews and other information concerning what is seen as a very unfortunate incident that occurred in New Roads.”
Louisiana statute RS 14:327 says that “It shall be unlawful for any person…intentionally hindering, delaying, hampering, interfering with, or impeding the progress of any regularly employed member of the fire department…or any volunteer fireman.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office spent Thursday taking photos and interviewing witnesses. However, the case may be more complicated than it seems. Mayor Robert Myer told New 2 that the New Roads fire department is handling the investigation internally. The officer in question is also a firefighter, although he was in full police uniform during the incident.
New Roads Police Chief Kevin McDonald claimed the fireman was detained for making a sarcastic remark to his officer when he was asked him to move his truck. McDonald has no plans to discipline the officer. Currently, the police are not even involved in the investigation.
Fireman Edwards has hired attorney Jill Craft.
A similar incident occurred earlier this year when a California Highway Patrol officer arrested a firefighter for not immediately moving his firetruck.