CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - A Charlotte County Firefighter is arrested for assault and we're learning, the altercation started over a scratched car.
Gerhard Klemme is 80 years old, no match for a 36 year old 250 pound fire fighter. But Thursday, Klemme says Firefighter John Brown was so angry he not only pushed him, he also hit his daughter.
Klemme and his daughter stopped by Kalli's German Butcher Shop in Port Charlotte. When they were walking back out to his gray '84 Mercedes, someone was following them. "He came around the car, said 'you scratched my car' or something like that. I said, what?" Klemme remembered.
According to the arrest report, John Brown, off-duty at the time, demanded Klemme do something about the damage. He and his daughter say, their cars never touched. "He walked up to me, chest to chest you know," which Klemme said caused him to stumble backwards, "then my daughter came over in-between us and he struck her, open hand, right across the face."
Klemme went inside to call the police, and says he sped off, leaving Browns wife behind. Fire Chief Dennis Didio is shocked by the allegations. He says Brown has been with the department since 2006, and has a clean record. "We don't accept this type of behavior," Didio said. "You're a recognized person within the community so you have to keep professional on the job and off the job."
"I think he's a brute," Klemme said. "He should not be in the position he was. If he drives an ambulance or anything for the fire department, he should not have a job like that."
In the arrest report, Brown denied the physical altercation. We tried to contact him but were unsuccessful.
Pending the investigation, Chief Didio says Brown has been put on paid administrative leave.