San Francisco Rescinds Reprimand over Asiana Crash Helmet Cam

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White has decided to rescind the reprimand she previous issued to Battalion Chief Mark Johnson for taking an unauthorized helmet cam video at the scene of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 last July.

Chief Johnson’s video played a critical role in the investigation of the death of Ye Meng Yuan. Nevertheless, he was reprimanded for violating a department general order against unauthorized filming “in the workplace”.

In a rather unconventional defense, Chief Johnson’s attorney argued in his appeal that (1) that he installed the helmet cam after he had been criticized following the death of two firefighters at a fire in 2011 as a means of documenting his conduct; and (2) that all three firefighters who had been disciplined by the department for helmet cam violations were African-American.

After reviewing his appeal, Chief Hayes-White determined that the department had “insufficient evidence” to support the reprimand.

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Appeals Court Upholds Termination of Firefighter Who Alleged Race Discrimination

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a trial court ruling that found that an African American firefighter recruit was not discriminated against when he was dismissed from the Toledo fire academy. Major Smith III filed suit claiming that instructors improperly trained him on a critical ventilation evolution, causing him to wash out of the academy.

Kentucky Chief Under Investigation Over Blackface Photo

A Kentucky fire chief is under investigation after a 20-year-old photo of him wearing blackface makeup surfaced. The Anderson County Fire District started the investigation following the disclosure of the photo during a contentious disciplinary hearing for a former battalion chief on August 19, 2021.