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San Antonio fire chief apologizes for choice words during Zoom hearing

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – San Antonio’s fire chief has apologized for using a couple of choice words during a hearing concerning a firefighter who was terminated after being arrested on charges of DWI and criminal mischief.

Chief Charles Hood cursed under his mask as the firefighter’s attorney, Ben Sifuentes, questioned him during a virtual Zoom hearing Tuesday.  It got personal when Sifuentes asked Hood about media portrayal of firefighters.

“And in fact, newspapers can portray members of the fire department in a false or misleading way, and you’ve seen that personally, correct?” asked Sifuentes. “Yes sir,” replied Hood.

“And not all the time is the newspaper fair to firefighters, including you, correct?” continued Sifuentes.  “What are you talking about this s***? Get the f*** outta here,” replied Hood.  As the chief responds,  a woman’s voice is heard objecting to the line of questioning and asking how a newspaper article is relevant to the case involving the fired firefighter.

Last year, a photo of Hood posing next to a naked sushi model at a firefighter’s birthday party was first published by the Express News and picked up by other media outlets.  The chief eventually received a letter of discipline.

Tuesday night, Hood apologized for his remarks at the hearing in a written statement obtained by KTSA News.

“The inappropriate comment that was inadvertently overheard today was the result of frustration due to a question completely irrelevant to the case and I apologize,” said the chief.

Tuesday’s hearing was part of the arbitration process to determine whether David Samano, who was fired by Hood in 2019, will be reinstated.  He was  accused of damaging the interior of a DPS trooper’s vehicle after being arrested on a charge of  Driving While Intoxicated.

The City of San Antonio posted the David Samano hearing on YouTube, which you can view below.  The questions concerning newspaper portrayal of firefighters start around the 14:00 mark.


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