A Brighton District Court judge set bail of $1,000 apiece today for three men charged with attacking firefighters and EMTs responding to an Allston collision Friday night.
At their arraignment today, Devon Roachford, 28, of Hyde Park and Shaquel Nelson, 21, and Jarien Miller, 24, both of Cambridge, were charged with assault and battery on an ambulance personnel and interfering with firefighters. Roachford was also charged with vandalism for allegedly destroying a smoke detector or sprinkler head in the cell at the D-14 police station where he was held after his arrest.
According to Assistant Suffolk County DA Mike Glennon, firefighters and EMTs rushed to the intersection of Brighton and Harvard avenues around 11:30 p.m. after receiving a call that a woman had been hit by a car. The first responders got the woman on a backboard and were in the process of putting her in an ambulance when the three men decided to get closer to the woman - and tried to get into the ambulance with her - Glennon said. The firefighters told them they couldn't do that, were unable to calm the three and the trio began swinging, he said. By the time police arrived, one firefighter needed hospital care himself, for shoulder and elbow injuries sustained in the battle, he said.
Attorneys for the three men told a different story. The woman is Roachford's girlfriend and Nelson's sister. They said that the driver who hit her stopped and became inconsolable. Roachford was trying to calm the driver down when firefighters and EMTs pulled up. Then, they said, somebody tackled Rochford from behind - "somebody in uniform" one of the lawyers said - and pulled him away from the car.
When Roachford and his friends heard his girlfriend crying out for him as she was getting prepared for the ambulance - "Stay with me! Don't leave me!" another one of the attorneys said - the three rushed to her, only to be confronted by firefighters and EMTs who refused to let them near her. None of the three has a record and while two had had some beers earlier in the evening, they were not under the influence at the time, the attorneys said.
"His emotions took over," his attorney said, when Judge David Donnelly expressed skepticism that professionals in uniform would attack people while responding to an injured person.
Donnelly said Roachford's apparent decision to vandalize the holding cell didn't speak well to his state of mind at the time. He set bail at the $1,000 requested by Glennon for Roachford - and doubled the $500 they had asked for Nelson and Miller.
The three are scheduled for another court appearance on Aug. 8.