A D.C. firefighter faces an assault charge after he punched an usher in D.C.’s Nationals Park during a game Tuesday, authorities said and video from a fan appears to show.
Firefighter Chris Sullivan is the man seen on video that’s gone viral, NBC Washington is first to report. He was most recently assigned to a fire station in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Northwest D.C.
Sullivan was charged with simple assault after a clash that followed “unruly” behavior and being asked to return to his seating section, a police report says. Online court records did not list an attorney.
The firefighter already was on paid leave from his job pending the outcome of “an internal personnel process,” DC Fire and EMS said. City Administrator Kevin Donahue called the video “disturbing” and said Sullivan had discipline issues before the trial board.
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A two-minute-long video clip taken by a fan shows two ushers speaking with a middle-aged man in the stands Tuesday night as the Nationals took on the Atlanta Braves.
“Get him out! Get him out!” people can be heard chanting.
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The man dances to the chant and appears to be filming the ushers with his phone. They start to guide him up the stairs.
“You’ve gotta go!” a woman shouts.
After about a minute, the man suddenly punches an usher in the face. A number of fans jump up to try to intervene, and two D.C. officers run over.
The ushers and officers struggle with the man for several seconds as fans boo him and chant “A--hole!” A thin line of blood can be seen on the right side of the man’s face.
A Metropolitan Police Department report says the usher who the man would punch had asked him several times to return to his own seat. But the man “began shouting obscenities and refused to move out of the section,” the report says.
The clash left the usher bleeding from his hand, according to the report. Medics examined the man and the usher but both refused treatment.
Sullivan was arrested and taken to the First District station.
DC Fire and EMS said they were notified of the firefighter’s arrest that night.
“The actions witnessed in the video are absolutely unacceptable,” the department said in a statement.
Sullivan already was on administrative leave with pay and will remain on leave during an investigation, DC Fire and EMS said. Sources familiar with the internal investigation told News4 Sullivan had been suspended for making threats to superiors and others in the department, and was in the process of being terminated before the clash in the ballpark.
“This incident likely will get added to the charges before the trial board,” Donahue, the city administrator, said. “It’s someone that has a pattern and history of discipline issues. It is sad that this is now included as part of it.”
Sullivan had been terminated from the department several years ago and then reinstated.
The Nationals banned him from the ballpark for five years.