Incident involving Glendale firefighters under internal review

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. ---  Glendale firefighters and the man they were called to help were all treated for injuries they suffered during a confrontation at the man's home.

In a video of the incident, the firefighters are seen calling the man "dead meat," and making other threats.

A crew responded to help 30-year-old James Murillo, at his home near 83rd and Glendale Avenues Sunday afternoon. Murillo, according to court documents, overdosed on prescription medication because he "wanted to sleep."

Firefighters say Murillo turned combative at the home, resisted going to the hospital, and swung at members of the crew.

Glendale police later arrested Murillo, and recommended assault charges be filed against him.

The man's family, and neighbors who witnessed the incident, say the firefighters overreacted and used excessive force on Murillo.

"It was awful. I cannot believe they did what they did," Raul Murillo, James' father, said.  

Firefighters, in court documents, say Murillo swung at his father, as well, but Raul Murillo denies those claims.

Neighbors report seeing firefighters wheel Murillo of the home, strapped to a gurney. They say he was immobile, but at one point attempted to undo a buckle.

Firefighters, in a neighbor's cell phone video, are heard yelling and swearing at Murillo.  The gurney collapsed to the ground.

"You're dead meat [expletive]!  I'm gonna have you for everything you have," one yelled.

Another firefighter told the neighbor to stop recording, but he refused.

"He's swinging at all of us.  He hit me in my [expletive] mouth," one firefighter said to people watching the incident unfold.

Neighbors say they never saw Murillo swing at or punch a firefighter, but admit they did not see what happened inside the home before Murillo was wheeled out on the gurney.  They say outside, things seemed calm at first.

"Then they started screaming and hollering at him while the guy was tied down," John Skinner told 3TV.  He watched the whole thing from his driveway across the street.

Court documents say two firefighters punched Murillo five or six times, and were treated for hand injuries after the incident.

"He's out of the hospital and out of jail.  Thank God he's ok," Raul Murillo added.

The family is meeting with an attorney, and is considering civil options.

The man who recorded the incident is pleased it's under internal review.

"[Firefighters are] always depicted as heroes, and they are absolutely heroes, but sometimes there's a bad apple or bad incident," he said.

The Glendale Fire Department declined to comment, but issued this statement:

The Glendale Fire Department and Glendale Police Department are conducting separate investigations involving an alleged aggravated assault incident between firefighters and a patient during an emergency response call.  On Sunday, October 26, Glendale Firefighters and Paramedics responded to a call involving a man with seizure-like symptoms. While attempting to administer medical attention to the patient, he apparently became combative.  An internal investigation is being conducted by the Glendale Fire Department. The Glendale Police Department concluded an initial investigation and recommended charges against the patient, which were submitted to the County Attorney's Office for review.  Further comment will be provided when those investigations are complete