SLO firefighter fired despite dodging assault conviction
November 8, 2012
The San Luis Obispo Fire Department fired the fire fighter who recently escaped a felony assault conviction for his role in a bar bathroom brawl.
John Ryan Mason, a fire engineer and paramedic, faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury following his alleged beating of Jory Brigham in the bathroom of Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill after a wedding. Mason’s trial concluded with a hung jury leaning eight to four in his favor, and the District Attorney’s Office chose not to retry the case.
The fire department placed Mason on unpaid administrative leave in April, yet City Manager Katie Lichtig recently named him as a nominee for city employee of the year.
But, several members of the city council told CalCoastNews that Mason’s behavioral pattern did not match the ethical code of a San Luis Obispo firefighter and that they were in favor of his termination. The fire department’s code of ethics mandates that firefighters “accept this responsibility of public trust both on and off duty.”
The power to fire Mason rested in the hands of Fire Chief Charlie Hines. Mason has 15 day to file an appeal.