SAFD Chief Hood Cusses at Attorney During Arbitration
(TX) – Because of the pandemic and the use of Zoom, we have a rare opportunity to see an arbitration hearing. Arbitration is used to come to an agreement between two opposing sides. In this arbitration, Firefighter Samano, with the San Antonio Fire Department, has been terminated for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Samano was arrested for DWI by a state trooper with the Department of Public Safety. A criminal mischief charge was added when Samano kicked at the windows in the State Trooper’s vehicle. The criminal mischief charge was dropped.
The hearing functions very much like a court hearing with the arbitrator acting as the judge. The attorney for the defendant will try to show why what was done to his client needs to be dropped completely or reduced in severity. He’ll do that by pointing out how others were treated. Chief Hood is well aware of this. He has no doubt attended many arbitration hearings. Yet when the defense attorney, Ben Sifuentes, asks Chief Hood, “Not all the time is the newspaper fair to firefighters, including you, correct?” Chief Hood responds with, “What are you talking about with this s***? Get the f*** out of here.” (video of the questioning that leads to the chief cussing starts at 14m mark)
More than likely Attorney Sifuentes is referring to Chief Hood being photographed eating sushi off of a naked woman, a picture which appeared in the news. If Chief Hood is embarrassed about the very subtle reference then he should have thought better about doing it in the first place. His screw up does not justify being abusive toward the defense attorney during an official proceeding.
San Antonio Fire Department is a Mess
While the cussing is very unprofessional, especially considering he’s the chief, what’s fascinating, and shocking, is that when the defense attorney starts making comparisons, we get a picture of what has really been going on at the San Antonio Fire Department under Chief Hood. We had already written about the sexual discrimination allegations against one of the chiefs, and we wrote about the captain at the SAFD who was arrested for insurance fraud.
What We Didn’t Know
Now we’ve learned that there has been a probationary lieutenant who was arrested for driving while intoxicated. All he ended up with was a 75-day suspension and he was allowed to stay a lieutenant. The guy was on probation as a lieutenant. He should have been demoted.
We’ve also learned that another lieutenant with SAFD was working at the Aztec theater, in a fire prevention capacity, and told one officer, regarding a female police officer, that “She will beat her ass.” (video 48m 24 sec mark) The firefighter then told another person, “I’m going to fuck that bitch up.” Her aggression caused the Aztec theater to ask officers to issue a criminal. The chief says she was removed from that assignment because of her actions. Well, yeah. If he had sent her back she would have gotten arrested for criminal trespass. It was ridiculous for the chief to act as if removing her from that assignment was a punishment. They had no choice, but to remove her.
Those are just two of the firefighters mentioned regarding poor behavior. There are more. This unusual glimpse into an arbitration hearing is like listening to a soap opera, except with the knowledge that we’re paying this man to do a bad job and paying people who should have been fired.