By Laura French
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — A Virginia firefighter has been charged with assault after an altercation with a patient in the back of an ambulance, according to fire department officials.
Fairfax County Firefighter Andrew Cruikshank, who has been with the department for two years, was charged with misdemeanor assault and placed on administrative leave after a police body-worn camera captured the Sept. 14 incident, according to a fire department statement. The fire department has launched an internal investigation.
“This action goes against the values we hold at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department,” Fairfax County Fire Chief John Butler said in a statement. “We respect our role in the community and strive to build and maintain public trust. We remain dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of our community and will continue to ensure that our members are held to the highest standards of the profession.”
The patient was in police custody while being transported to the hospital. The Fairfax County Police Department investigated the incident and released the body camera footage.
According to The Washington Post, the video appears to show a firefighter throw a swab on the patient after the patient threatened to kill him, and then appears to show the patient spitting on the firefighter and the firefighter striking him. A union official said in a statement that the firefighter was assaulted by the patient and that the video and fire department’s statement do not “portray a true picture of what actually happened,” according to the Post.