2 DC firefighters charged in brawl caught on video

Two D.C. firefighters accused of assaulting a man police say was acting aggressively toward personnel providing medical attention to two people in April appeared in court Tuesday.

Firefighters Reden Ecleo, 21, and Lt. Sean Sinon, 48, were released on their own recognizance following their initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court. Both are charged with assault for what happened on April 25.

D.C. Fire and EMS had been called at 14 Florida Ave. Northwest for an incident on a Metrobus. They found two people who appeared to be under the influence of an unknown narcotic, according to court documents.

According to a police report, a 43-year-old man punched a firefighter in the face, which began the altercation.

As fire crews were helping, court documents said the man was “punching a fence and became upset at DCFEMS members,” as well as continuing to interfere with those providing medical help to the two people.

He also struck Sinon twice in the face, and that’s when several firefighters “intervened and encircled” the man, with Sinon appearing to swing at him seven times.

“He started so much sh–, they jumped him,” a witness caught on police body camera footage said.

Court documents also described the man being surrounded by D.C. Fire and EMS members.

“The complainant was on his back with a DCFEMS member on top of him who appeared to have his arms/hands on the complaint’s (sic) body. Several DCFEMS members were on and around the complainant struggling with him attempting to stop his assaultive behavior,” documents said.

Ecleo “appeared to kick” the man in the head area and had his knee on the man’s head, while Sinon appeared to punch him twice. Both Ecleo and Sinon “had to be pushed away by an MPD member,” the documents said.

A witness said that by the time police came, “they were pulling ambulance people off him because they were punching him.”

Ecleo and Sinon said in statements to D.C. police that the more D.C. Fire and EMS tried to help the two individuals, the “more irate the shirtless male became.”

“He was demanding our attention and getting (within) inches of our faces and bodies,” Ecleo and Sinon said.

Witnesses told police that they saw the man strike Sinon, and even after D.C. police took control of the scene, the man continued being “aggressive and resisting.”

A video of the fight was posted on Twitter the following day. D.C. Fire and EMS said in a statement several days after the brawl that the actions of the firefighters in the video were “completely unacceptable” and were not reflective of “the behavior we require of our members.”

DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36 President David Hoagland expressed disappointment in the decision to charge the two firefighters.

“These firefighters reacted quickly to a dangerous situation to protect the citizens and themselves,” Hoagland said in a statement Tuesday. 

He said that it was important to clarify that D.C. firefighters’ training “does not include strategies for de-escalating situations of physical violence — an unfortunate reality they found themselves in during this instance.”

D.C. Fire and EMS placed all personnel involved in the fight on administrative leave during the investigation. The man was arrested following the brawl, but the assault charge against him was dropped the following day, The Washington Post reported.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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