Charges to be dropped against firefighters at WTC

Sunday, November 11, 2001

NEW YORK -- Authorities are dropping charges against all but one of the 18 firefighters arrested after a raucous protest at the World Trade Center site, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Saturday.

The firefighters were arrested after five police officers were injured during a Nov. 2 rally, in which firefighters protested their numbers being reduced at the site.

The one case that will not be dropped, Giuliani said, involved a firefighter accused of hitting a police officer. The other cases mostly involved criminal trespassing and harassment, he said.

"What happened at ground zero . . . is unacceptable. I am very, very hopeful it will not happen again," Giuliani said. "But we want to be able to put this behind us, so we can move ahead."

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said the charges would be dismissed and would not show up on the firefighters' records.

Morganthau said he made the decision "in light of the extraordinary heroism of the firefighters and police department members at ground zero, and the stress on the families, particularly on the widows and children."

Citing safety concerns, Giuliani had sought to scale back the number of firefighters working at ground zero to 25. At one point there had been as many as 150 firefighters and police officers at the site.

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