Four IFD firefighters disciplined

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Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - Months after sorting through conflicting reports over punching, groping and urinating in public, the Indianapolis Fire Department is taking action against four of its own.

Under fire for a night of alleged rowdy behavior, including a "sucker punch," "groping" a female and "urinating" in public, four high-ranking city firefighters are now facing weeks without pay.

A six-month independent investigation by a Police Review Board found they violated IFD policy last summer while attending a Kid Rock Concert at the Verizon Music Center. The gathering that night was supposed to honor an Indianapolis firefighter killed in the line of duty in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Instead, the review board says four of the eight who attended brought embarrassment to IFD.

"We wanted to make sure that we did due diligence and treat it seriously," said Chief Brian Sanford in September 2008.

Chief Sanford vowed a fair investigation last summer. Now he's recommending 192 hours suspension without pay, equivalent to eight 24-hour shifts, for a 20-year veteran. Captain Jerry Martin is cited for conduct unbecoming and failing to cooperate and to be truthful. Witnesses accuse him of groping a woman and punching her husband in the face.

Lt. Richard Mann, an 18-year veteran, faces 120 hours suspension or five full shifts without pay for failing to cooperate and to be truthful.

Lt. Scott Gates is taking 144 hours or six shifts without pay for conduct unbecoming. IFD says he engaged in behavior that was immoral, rude, or indecent.

Lt. Scott Huff accepted 120 hours suspension without pay, or five shifts, for failing to cooperate or to be truthful.

It appears none of the firefighters will face criminal charges. Lt. Bruce Barnes, Noblesville Police, confirmed that the case in Noblesville was dropped. "They seemed to be content with what was being done at the Indianapolis Fire Department and with that in mind they simply did not want to go any further with the criminal or potential criminal charges here," said Lt. Barnes.

The victims say they've simply been through enough. Jerry Martin and Richard Mann are both appealing their discipline. They will have their hearings next week. Chief Sanford declined to comment until after the appeal.