Louisiana Police Handcuff Firefighter During Emergency Call“They are supposed to protect and serve life, and here they are arresting the people that’s trying to help”
Mar. 31, 2014
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A volunteer firefighter in New Roads, LA. was handcuffed and detained by police this week for refusing to move his vehicle during an emergency call.
Amber Porter,who needed help after fainting in her kitchen, detailed the experience as the firefighter attempted to render aid.
“I was laying on the floor,” Porter told WBRZ News. “They was calling my name. He was trying to sit me up off the floor.”
As Porter worked to regain her composure, a New Roads police officer suddenly appeared at her door, demanding the firefighter move his truck.
Refusing to leave Porter's side, the firefighter was handcuffed and placed in the back of the officer’s vehicle.
“This is very disheartening, very disappointing and very embarrassing,” next-door neighbor Joyce Harris stated.
According to WBRZ News, one paramedic who refused to go on camera stated that the officer’s actions were one of the most unprofessional things he had ever seen.
After reviewing surveillance video from a nearby camera, the New Roads Housing Authority was able to determine that the firefighter was detained in the back of the officer’s police car for more than 22 minutes.
“I think what his problem was, was an ego thing,” Harris said. “They are supposed to protect and serve life, and here they are arresting the people that’s trying to help.”
Porter expressed similar feelings towards the officer as well, demanding he face disciplinary action for completely disregarding her well-being.
“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.”
Responding to the community’s outrage, New Roads Police Chief Kevin McDonald told reporters that the issue was “resolved” and that the officer would not be disciplined.
Luckily for Porter and her neighbor, an internal investigation was launched by the State Fire Marshal’s Office almost immediately after McDonald’s announcement.
“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.”
Under state law, jail time can be given to any person “intentionally hindering, delaying, hampering, interfering with, or impeding the progress” of any fire fighter.
Responding to the investigation, McDonald defended his officer’s actions yet again, claiming the officer was justified in detaining the firefighter due to a “sarcastic remark.”
The Fire Marshal’s investigation is expected to take as long as two weeks.
Incredibly, Porter’s situation is not the first of its kind. Just last month, a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed a firefighter after he refused to move his firetruck as well. The firefighter was detained in front of news cameras as victims lay helpless in a vehicle that rolled down a major embankment.
In 2009, an ambulance driver was pulled over and choked by an Oklahoma police officer as a heart-attack victim lay suffering in the back.