Firefighter handcuffed by CHP 'looking for policy change' - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Firefighter handcuffed by CHP 'looking for policy change'

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This is a video screen image from a news conference held Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Jacob Gregoire, a 12-year veteran of the Chula Vista Fire Dept. is seen on the left. This is a video screen image from a news conference held Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Jacob Gregoire, a 12-year veteran of the Chula Vista Fire Dept. is seen on the left.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The exclusive CBS News 8 video had people all over the country talking, and now the firefighter at the center of it all is fighting back.

"I was told get back in your fire engine and go back to your fire station," firefighter Jake Gregoire said.

Gregoire was working a bad traffic accident on Interstate 805 near Telegraph Canyon Road in February. A car overturned and people were trapped inside. He says he was in the process of lowering a gurney to load a patient when CHP officer Sergio Flores demanded he move his fire engine, immediately.

"I asked him, 'Are you prepared to take care of these two patients?' And he replied without even thinking, 'Those two people are not my problem,'" Gregoire said.

The firefighter was placed in handcuffs and frisked on the side of the freeway with cars whizzing by at 40 to 50 miles an hour. But it's what happened next that really shocked him.

"I said, 'Sir, can you please loosen the handcuffs?' because these jackets are so big and puffy and I have bad shoulders. They put tension in them and I had tingling feeling. And I asked, please loosen the cuffs. And click, they got a little bit tighter," he said.

Gregoire was forced to sit in the back of a CHP car for about 30 minutes before being released, and he has not been charged with any crime. But now he is fighting back.

"Nobody has taken any actions for us to work together in the future," he said.

Gregoire feels like the whole issue has been swept under the rug, and will therefore be repeated. So he's filed a claim against the CHP for civil rights violations. It's the first step toward a lawsuit.

"I'm not looking for compensation. I'm looking for policy change, because I don't want a fellow firefighter to go through this again," he said.

He says all he wants is the CHP to agree not to arrest, delay or obstruct firefighters who are lawfully trying to treat patients on freeways.

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