Monday, March 24, 2008

City firefighter faces charges

Sources say he ‘lost it’ when he saw estranged wife downtown with her lawyer

By William Kaempffer
Register Staff
— It wasn’t the fight itself that created a spectacle Friday night in the city’s entertainment district.
It was the fact that the aggressor was an on-duty city firefighter, who allegedly jumped out of his fire department ambulance and attacked his wife’s divorce lawyer when he saw the two together downtown.
While he wasn’t immediately arrested, Firefighter Matt Kennedy ultimately spent the night in jail, authorities said, and Fire Chief Michael Grant placed him on administrative leave.
“He’s due in court on Monday, and he’s due in my office immediately after that,” Grant said Saturday.
The incident happened Friday evening at the busy corner of Temple and Crown streets and drew quite a crowd.
Grant said he still didn’t have all the details, but he provided this account as he said he understood it: Kennedy was working on an emergency unit and was returning from a medical call when he saw his estranged wife and a man together. He left the vehicle and confronted the woman and man. By the time the battalion chief arrived, police had them separated and the battalion chief and Kennedy’s partner convinced him to get back in the rig and to the firehouse. There, when Kennedy remained visibly upset, a paramedic recommended he get checked out at the hospital.
He was arrested by police at the hospital for violating a protective or restraining order his wife had against him, Grant said.
“It was confrontational. I’m sure a million people saw it,” he said. “It’s disappointing to me and embarrassing to the department.”
Several sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, filled out the story a bit. They said Kennedy “lost it” when he saw his estranged wife and her attorney, Tony Wallace, a politically active Westville lawyer, together. Kennedy jumped out of the still-moving ambulance and assaulted Wallace, pushing him and knocking his glasses from his face. It’s not clear if any punches were thrown. Then, after a crowd of spectators had gathered and as police spoke to Wallace, Kennedy allegedly broke free from police and firefighters who were restraining him and went after Wallace again, threatening him.
Some questions were raised when Kennedy was pushed back into his rig and driven off, instead of being arrested at the scene, although charges ultimately were filed.
The nature of Wallace’s relationship with his client was not immediately clear.
A message for Rob Smuts, the city’s chief administrative officer who oversees both the police and fire departments, was not returned. A message left for Wallace at his home and office also was not returned Saturday.
Kennedy and his wife are in the process of a divorce, and last year he was issued a short suspension after being arrested while off duty in Hamden in connection with a domestic disturbance. He also was involved in a firehouse run-in last August with a co-worker and allegedly choked him. Neither pursued the matter and Kennedy was not disciplined.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The nature of Wallace’s relationship with his client was not immediately clear. They live together. Check that fact out!Divorce attorney and previous client. WOW

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