[cifnmedia] Beaten Staten Island Firefighter to Sue

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 04:57:54 -0800 (PST)

Updated: 03-26-2004 09:30:04 AM

Beaten Staten Island Firefighter to Sue
Courtesy of New York Post

The Staten Island firefighter nearly killed in a booze-fueled New Year's Eve 
station house brawl came back slugging yesterday, putting the city on notice he 
intends to file a $100 million lawsuit. Robert Walsh, who was bashed in the 
head with a metal chair and nearly died, was put on notice Wednesday that he 
will be suspended when he's well enough to return to duty. 

He was one of five firefighters disciplined for drinking on the job and then 
lying about the attack to conceal their night of boozing it up in the 

In the notice of claim filed yesterday, Walsh's lawyer, Jonathan Reiter, points 
the finger back at FDNY brass for turning a blind eye to "a pattern of alcohol 
abuse in the firehouse" leading to the violent attack. 

"The key here is when commanding officers set this type of example and 
encourage this type of activity by participating in firehouse drinking, these 
kind of events like assaults are going to happen," he said. 

"Firefighters have to risk their lives fighting fires. They should not have to 
risk their lives sitting in firehouses," said Reiter. 

Walsh's jaw and eye socket were smashed and his nose almost ripped off by 
firefighter Michael Silvestri, 41, in an argument over Elvis Presley's 
birthday, according to a report by the city Department of Investigation. 

Reiter said the city's report was "full of inaccuracies" including the 
accusation that Walsh came up with the lie that he had "fallen down stairs" in 
an attempt to cover up the attack and the drinking. 

"Walsh was out on his feet. You could have told Walsh he was Mickey Mouse," he 
said, adding, "The city is already circling the wagons and attempting to spin 
the facts to head off its obvious liability for Walsh's injuries." 

Four others - Lts. Gregory McFarland and Raymond Kane and firefighters Joseph 
Spitalieri and David Johnsen - were suspended for 30 days. 

Capt. Terrence Sweeney was demoted and forced to retire for the cover-up. 

Silvestri was arraigned Wednesday on assault charges and is out on $1,000 bail. 

Walsh has been undergoing physical therapy since the attack. 

"I can tell you his life almost came to an end that night, and right now he is 
concentrating on thanking God he is still with us," Reiter said. 


Report: Drinking Already Rampant at S.I. Firehouse Before New Year's Brawl

Four More Suspended in Brawl at Staten Island Firehouse

Report: NYC Firefighters Lied About Fight

Details of FDNY Brawl Indictment Revealed

NYC Firefighter Indicted Over New Year's Brawl

Staten Island Firehouse Polishing It's Image

FDNY Brawler Back on Payroll

Brawling FDNY Captain Was Boozing

FDNY Captain Retires, Pays Fine Over Firehouse Brawl

Beaten FDNY Firefighter Says First Words

Firefighter Charged in FDNY Assault Likely to Lose Job

Taunts, Teasing Part of Firehouse Culture

Dennis Smith: When the Bravest Battle Themselves

FDNY Brawlers Face Hot Seat

6 NYC Firefighters on Desk Duty Post-Brawl

FDNY Brawl Leaves One Man Critically Injured


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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