A Chicago police officer wants to press charges against a firefighter who allegedly slammed him to the ground during an inter-agency turf battle earlier this month.
Officer Jason J. Smith says Fire Department Captain Mark Altman slammed him to the ground during a Nov. 1 river rescue near Goose Island, a joint investigation by the Better Government Association and the Chicago Sun-Times revealed.
Smith, who was working for the police Marine Unit, responded to a call of two men who had fallen in the river near Goose Island. Altman, working for the fire department’s Squad One, also received the call.
Sources familiar with the investigation say Altman was carrying out orders to remove from the riverfront anyone who was not wearing a life vest -- including police officers, the Sun-Times reports. He allegedly removed Smith because Smith was not wearing the proper safety gear.
Smith told the paper: “He grabbed me and slammed me backwards, and I fell on the ground… He should be arrested for that.”
Fire Department officials say the incident is the subject of an internal investigation, and the police repeat the same line. Sources say the altercation did not impede the rescue of two men who fell into the river.
Altman is the son of former Chicago Fire Commissioner Edward Altman. The paper speculates there may be some bad blood between Squad One and the Marine Unit because the departments are set to merge under a cost savings plan by Rahm Emanuel.