Saturday, August 4, 2012

City fire battalion chief charged with beating girlfriend - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


By Tom Fontaine

Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 3:28 p.m.
Updated 15 minutes ago

Pittsburgh officials suspended a fire battalion chief on Saturday after city police accused him of roughing up an ex-girlfriend during an alcohol-fueled rage — his third assault charge in four years.

â€Å"Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Mike Huss said.

James Washabaugh, 54, was drunk and screaming obscenities when he showed up about 1 p.m. at the Centre Avenue apartment he once shared with Camala Davis, 41, according to court documents. The commotion awoke Davis.

Police said Washabaugh spit in Davis’ face when she came out of her bedroom. After Davis asked Washabaugh to leave, police said, he pushed her against a wall and threw her to the floor twice.

Washabaugh was released after being arraigned on one count of simple assault, according to court documents. He could not be reached for comment.

He faced similar charges four years ago.

In June 2008, officials placed Washabaugh on paid administrative leave after city police charged him with simple assault for another dispute with Davis.

Three weeks later, Sewickley police charged him with simple assault, court records show. Details of that incident were not immediately available.

Charges in both cases were dropped, court records show.

Pittsburgh fire Chief Darryl Jones said Washabaugh, who joined the department in March 1986, has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing.

Under department rules, Washabaugh will go before a three-member trial board that will consist of either battalion chiefs or deputy chiefs. Their recommendation as to discipline will be forwarded to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for approval.

Jones did not know when the hearing would be conducted.

Staff writer Rick Wills contributed to this report. Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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