In May we told you about an ugly incident that occurred during a wetdown on October 9 last year at the Sea Bright Fire Department in New Jersey (video above is of the wetdown but not the fight). One firefighter accused two other firefighters, who are brothers and officers in the department, of assault. Peter Lang IV, age 33, and Steven Lang, 25, also accused 28-year-old Justin Hughes of attacking them. The Lang brothers, who had been scheduled to be promoted (Peter to assistant chief and Steven to second lieutenant), also accused Hughes of assault. The pending trial delayed those promotions and threatened to keep the Langs from ever being officers in the department.
On Wednesday the trio heard their fate from Judge James Berube. He found all three guilty of assault and fined them $500 and ordered them to perform 100 hours of community service, which could be accomplished by their work as volunteer firefighters. The judge also arranged it so the brothers are not barred from promotion.
In addition, the judge believes that Hughes was the instigator of the second and more serious of two fights by saying that Steven Lang, who had served as a Marine in Iraq, should have been killed there. According to RedBankGreen.com, which has been following this story, the judge said, “Your words were so serious, so sensitive… they are so inflammatory that they constituted provocation.”
Here's more from reporter John T. Ward:
Berube’s ruling came after municipal Prosecutor Mike Halfacre, who also serves as Fair Haven mayor, backed away from a demand that the Langs be barred for life from serving as officers.
Though he said the pair had “disgraced and discredited” the Sea Bright Fire Department, and though they appeared to have rallied a “good-old-boy network” of support that included what he termed “suspect” letters of support, Halfacre said he would not press for forefeiture because state Department of Health and Human Services rules would have mandated the Langs lose their EMT licenses as well.
“That’s where I took pause,” he told Berube.
Also on STATter911 …
- Macon-Bibb County gunman prank update: Hearing discusses captain’s role in planning. Firefighters make claim there is culture of hazing to include painting of genitals. – December 15, 2011
- MI firefighter alone inside house fire is burned. Incident brings up questions about Benton Harbor’s public safety officer model. – March 15, 2013
- Early pictures: Gresham, Oregon firefighters save man behind bars. – November 30, 2012
- CT former chief & lieutenant arrested on charges they had sex with jr. firefighters. Chief served jail time after similar arrest 30-years-ago. – February 14, 2013
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