SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood on Tuesday was captured on camera cursing at an attorney during a virtual arbitration hearing for a fired firefighter.
The comments came early in day two of hearings for David Samano, a firefighter terminated by Hood in 2019 after his arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal mischief.
As Samano’s attorney, Ben Sifuentes, asked a series of questions about how the media portrays firefighters, including Hood, Hood appeared to say on video, “What are you talking about with this s***? Get the f*** out of here.”
Another person taking part in the hearing then interrupted and asked how newspaper articles were relevant to what was being discussed.
Reached for comment Tuesday evening, Sifuentes told the Defenders Hood’s remarks were “grossly inappropriate, especially in a public setting.”
Sifuentes said Hood’s remarks, which came during a virtual hearing before a third-party arbitrator, were the equivalent of having said those words in a courtroom and that the city should take disciplinary action against him.
A recording of Hood’s comments, which came around the 14:20 mark of the hearing, remained on the city of San Antonio’s YouTube channel as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Hood did not respond to a request from the KSAT 12 Defenders to clarify what he said or provide context.
Late Thursday evening, Hood, through a city spokesperson, provided the following apology:
“The inappropriate comment that was inadvertently overheard today was the result of frustration due to a question completely irrelevant to the case and I apologize.”
Samano was fired in April 2019, months after he was accused of driving drunk and then damaging the inside of a Texas Department of Public Safety vehicle while being taken to jail.
When the state trooper arrested Samano, placing him in a patrol vehicle, Samano told the trooper that “he should pray he never needed (firefighter) Samano’s services because (firefighter) Samano would not help him or his family,” the suspension paperwork states.
Samano “became violent,” and began kicking the inside of the trooper’s patrol unit, hitting the front windshield and inside camera system, according to records.
Suspension paperwork stated that a blood draw revealed Samano had a blood alcohol level of .120.
Samano was given 16 months probation in February 2020 and the DWI charge was reduced to obstruction of a passageway, Bexar County court records show.
Prosecutors dismissed the misdemeanor criminal mischief charge against Samano, records show.
An arbitrator will eventually decide whether or not to reinstate Samano to the department.
A city investigation late last year determined that Hood violated SAFD rules and regulations when he was photographed eating sushi off of a nude women during a private party while off duty.
Hood was issued a formal letter of discipline Nov. 19, apologized and promised to institute a number of changes within the department including the development of a training module to better recognize and value different cultures and perspectives.