The secretive trial-board panels convened to hand out punishments to firefighters after the death of 77-year-old Medric Mills have delivered their punishments, but interim fire chief Eugene A. Jones isn’t satisfied. Jones is so unhappy with what he calls the light punishment that he says he’ll only accept them “begrudgingly.”
Mills’ death near a Rhode Island Avenue NE fire station last January became a symbol of dysfunction in D.C. Fire and EMS, with firefighters accused of ignoring pleas to help him and instead staying in their firehouse. While the lieutenant in the case retired before she could be punished, three other firefighters involved in the case received closed trial board reviews in June.
According to a D.C. Fire and EMS press release, one firefighter will receive a reprimand, one was suspended, and one was exonerated. DCFEMS spokesman Timothy J. Wilson declined to name the firefighters, and didn’t know whether the judgments will be released publicly.
In a statement, Jones—-who replaced embattled fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe in July—-fumes that the firefighters got off easy.
“The disciplinary actions recommended are not severe enough,” Jones says in the press release. “It’s completely unacceptable for these firefighters to not respond to a request for emergency medical services.”
Wilson tells LL that the chief is “unhappy” about the “disappointing” rulings. Unluckily for him, though, there’s no new discipline he can hand out now that the case has been ruled on by a trial board.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery