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."
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