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Critical Incident Stress 
Implicated In NY Firefighter Disturbance 
(01-14-02)

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Posted On: January 14, 2002          Updated On: January 14, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

Critical Incident Stress 
Implicated In NY Firefighter Disturbance
(01-14-02)

Critical Incident Stress Reactions among the firefighters who participated in the rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center Site in New York City may have been a critical factor causing a peaceful demonstration to erupt into a riot resulting in  the arrest of eighteen police officers for their disruptive behavior.  Critical Incident Stress Reactions and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are a normal responses to abnormally high levels of stress and exposure to extreme trauma.  

When Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gregory Carro dismissed all charges he noted "the extraordinary physical and emotional burdens they have endured."  The Assistant District Attorney Kavita Gopwani praised the heroism of the city's firefighters.  

Nothing was mentioned about referring these firefighters to the Employee Assistance Program for evaluation and possible treatment in spite of the evidence of continued anger on both sides of the conflict.  The symptoms related to critical incident stress are readily treatable.  Emergency professionals receiving appropriate treatment can be spared months or years of emotional sufferring that can destroy families, careers, and lives

Here's an article from the New York Post.

Rioters Off Hook - and Still Angry
NY Post (December 19, 2001)

They're free, and they're cleared - but some of the 18 firefighters busted at ground zero after last month's bitter Finest-vs.-Bravest brawl are still angry at the cops.

The harsh words came yesterday outside the Manhattan courtroom where a judge, on the recommendation of prosecutors, threw out all of the misdemeanor charges against the firefighters.

The 18 had faced up to a year in jail after getting busted in a protest over the city's later-revoked order reducing the number of firefighters assigned to the sacred site.

"They took detectives off of active homicide cases to investigate us - and they wanted to charge us with felony rioting," Lt. John Ginty complained of the cops, as he walked out of court.

Brooklyn firefighter Sean Nealon - who faced the most serious misdemeanor charges for allegedly striking a cop with a barricade - said the rally was simply too chaotic.

"It was just a mass of bodies on both sides," said Nealon. "The barrier was going to be pushed over whether it was me or the 1,000 guys behind me."

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gregory Carro dismissed all charges after Assistant District Attorney Kavita Gopwani praised the heroism of the city's firefighters, and noted "the extraordinary physical and emotional burdens they have endured."

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2001 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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