Firemen are heroes aren’t they? That’s the image of them rescuing people from burning buildings and all that stuff. Well, it’s true, sometimes they are heroes. And sometimes they die trying to do their job. But, for the most part their job is routine, mundane and relatively unskilled. It doesn’t take big balls to polish the chrome on a fire truck.
The police have an inside joke about firefighters, with the saying: “there are only two jobs in the world you can earn money in bed.” And from a cop’s perspective out in the mean streets, slugging it out with the drunks, meth heads, crack heads and other denizens of the dark, that can be a little frustrating. But, when a cop just doing his job, winds up slugging it out with an allegedly drunk off-duty firefighter and finds himself put at risk by the other attending emergency service workers, well, that’s entirely unacceptable.
Yet, that is apparently what happened on St. Paddy’s Day in Vancouver. But, never mind the actions of the allegedly drunken off-duty fireman and his yapping whelp, it is the actions of the on-duty firemen at the scene I have a bigger problem with.
The alleged drunks were in a car that drove into a building. The Fire Department were the first on the scene as is usual in traffic accidents. But, apparently they quickly determined it was one of their own who would likely be in the jackpot. The police believe that the off duty fireman and his son weren’t passengers in the car, but one of them was driving, and I am not sure which at this point, and the female being portrayed as the driver is a set-up by the firemen attending. Which, if true, is obstruction of justice as defined in the criminal code.
This would seem to be the premise the investigating officer was acting upon when he was told to “F**** Off!” by Grant Mason, the off duty fireman’s lippy son. Curtis Mason, the Elder, then waded into the confrontation and the situation went from 0 to 60 in record time. A push, a shove, a F*** you and pretty soon everyone is rolling on the ground.
It was at this point, it would seem, the firefighters strove to make their reputation as zeros, not heroes. They encircled the cops struggling to get control of the out-of-control Masons, as vividly depicted on YouTube. What might have happened if one of the fighting Masons had grabbed the pistol of one the young officers and shot him? Would the on duty firemen have been looking at being charged as parties to the offence?
To make it all worse, the firemen were asked to provide statements relative to what they witnessed. They all said they didn’t see anything, that they were loading their truck or some such nonsense. The VPD Sgt. on scene told them in no uncertain terms that there would be some very unpleasant consequences if they didn’t get their pens out sharpish.
They did, ultimately, I’m told. But they need not have bothered. Three liners as statements are not much help. One even wrote, according to my source, that he felt bad for not helping his colleague in the fight with police.
The police are often in the media crosshairs while the firefighters can do no wrong. The reality is often very different from that perception.
Obstruction of a peace officer in the execution of his duty is a serious criminal code offence. And, if the actions of members of the Vancouver Fire Department were as described, and I have no reason to disbelieve my sources or the civilian witnesses who corroborate police statements, then the Vancouver taxpayers deserve an explanation from their fire service, not gums flapping from a spin doctor. Or a stage-managed press conference which didn’t address the facts of the situation.
Former prosecutor, former Police Complaints Commissioner and now not-seldom-enough-heard-from lawyer, Don Morrison, has said he may sue the police in this case. Marvelous! For under oath, the truth will out. And the truth, in my view, is not what you heard at the press conference yesterday.