SFFD Battalion Chief Sam Romero (yearbook pic left, mug rt) allegedly had fight w/gf at Daly City restaurant last night, case on way to DA pic.twitter.com/I9u8Nd0mQE— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) February 21, 2017
A San Francisco Fire Department Battalion Chief was sentenced to a year of probation this week, after he pleaded "no contest" to charges following a violent physical confrontation with a female co-worker at a popular area restaurant.
Bay City News reports that SFFD Battalion Chief Samuel Romero initially faced domestic violence charges after he reportedly slapped a woman and punched a man while dining at the Original Joe's restaurant in Westlake on February 20.
According to BCN, the confrontation began when the male victim apparently made a comment regarding the difference in age between Romero and the female victim, who is also employed by the SFFD.
The male victim's relationship to Romero is unclear, and the female's under debate: Prosecutors initially claimed that Romero and the woman were a couple, hence the domestic abuse allegation. However, as the case progressed “The victim didn’t want to see it go forward, as is so often the case,” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
According to Romero's defense attorney, Julia Jayne, Romero and the female victim were not romantically involved, making the case one of "simple battery, not involving domestic violence,” she said.
“She was not his girlfriend, and that’s why there was no domestic violence plea,” Jayne toldBCN. “They’re firefighters and friends but not in any sort of romantic relationship.”
Friends they might be, but now they are friends with a court order between them: According to BCN, in addition to the probation sentence, Romero got two days of jail time (which he'd already served), $235 in fine, and strict instructions "prohibiting him from harassing the female victim."
It's also unclear if the victim in the battery case is the same woman referred to in a November, 2016 report from KTVU. According to the broadcast station, a female firefighter they name as "Jane" said that when she was transferred to Station two in Chinatown in January of 2016, two male firefighters began harassing her, "hiding her boots before a firehouse inspection, spreading feces on her bathroom floor, and urinating in her bed."
The male firefighters denied the claim,instead telling KTVU that "the charges are ironic, they believe it's 54 year old Battalion Chief Sam Romero, who was stationed at Firehouse 2, who was acting inappropriately by having an affair with Jane, his subordinate."
Following an investigation into the allegations of a relationship between Romero and "Jane," which KTVU documents in detail here, "Romero was reassigned to station 31 in the Richmond permanently, just one neighborhood over from Jane's house."
According to San Francisco's public employee salary information database, Romero's total pay and benefits for the year 2016 was $321,038.97, including a base salary of $182,944.87, overtime of $55,924.52, and "other pay" of $28,097.05. At the time of his March arrangement, BCN reports, Romero remained on active duty with the SFFD. A call from SFist to the SFFD to confirm if that remains the case was not returned as of publication time.