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'Inexcusable behavior' - Akron Fire apologizes for firefighter who turned hose on bystander

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Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 13:15:20-04

AKRON, Ohio — After a video circulated on social media showing a firefighter turning a hose on a citizen while cleaning up a crime scene, the Akron Fire Department responded to the incident, calling it "unacceptable behavior."

In a letter, Lt. Sierjie Lash addressed the March 27 incident, saying the "inexcusable behavior is not approved by the remaining crew members, nor any police or Akron Fire Department authority."

The video that circulated online shows a crew member turning a fire hose on a citizen while cleaning up a crime scene. In the video, the crew member can be heard telling the bystander to "stand back" due to the area being a crime scene. The crew member then sprays the bystander, who was recording the incident, and says, "It's a crime scene, dude!"

Warning: Explicit language. Viewer discretion advised.

The bystander backs up and responds, "I didn't see any tape! I'm on a public sidewalk and there's no tape." The bystander keeps filming while the firefighter continues spraying the sidewalk.

The letter to the Akron community states that there is an open investigation into the "unacceptable behavior."

"We are saddened that any community member had to endure and witness this act at all," Lash stated. "We also recognize that our words alone do not make up for these misguided actions, and for this we truly apologize."

Lash addressed the importance of community trust and reiterated the department's commitment to keeping residents safe:

"The Akron Fire Department does not underestimate the importance of the community’s trust in our team to provide fire and emergency medicine [sic] services to the Akron area. It is our hope that a single event does not overshadow our unending commitment to keeping residents safe and healthy every single day. We are here as a protective service within our community. Members of the Akron Fire Department are still available 24 hours a day to respond to any emergency that may arise. Fire Chief Clarence Tucker wishes to apologize on behalf of the Akron Fire Department and let the Akron Community know that we remind each of our members to continue to serve by treating our citizens with the compassion, respect, and dignity that each person deserves. "

The identity of the firefighter involved in the incident was not released in the letter from the fire department.

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