Video: N.C. captain arrested, removed from duty following bar altercation

The Chapel Hill captain can be seen arguing with police and bar employees, repeatedly stating that he is a firefighter


Tammy Grubb
The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A Chapel Hill firefighter was arrested over the weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C., after struggling with police officers who had responded to a call about a drunk bar patron.

The incident, which was captured in a video posted on Facebook, shows a man later identified as Jesse Torchia, a captain with the Chapel Hill Fire Department. He is seen arguing with bar staff at Hoto's Restaurant and Beach Bar in North Myrtle Beach on Saturday.

The video, which has since gone viral, shows Torchia ordering his family to go home and continuing to argue with the employees, repeatedly telling them that he is a firefighter.

Chapel Hill town spokesman Ran Northam confirmed Torchia is employed with the Chapel Hill Fire Department. He said Torchia has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the case.

In the 9-minute video, Torchia is seen getting belligerent with employees and police outside the restaurant.

At one point, he flings off his sandals to challenge an employee to fight him. When police arrive, Torchia then begins arguing with an officer. Other officers intervene and attempt to arrest Torchia, who struggles with them for a couple of minutes. His son hugs his neck before the fight escalates, pleading with his father to let the police arrest him.

As Torchia is handcuffed and led out of the bar, customers and staff erupt in cheers and applause.

Police charged Torchia with being intoxicated and disorderly and with resisting arrest, according to Horry County Sheriff's Office records. He was released on bond Sunday and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 15.

Torchia, 39, lives in Fuquay-Varina and has been a firefighter with the Chapel Hill department since 2009.

"There's a technical personnel process that they'll go through, and all of that will be under wraps because it's personnel," Northam said. "Of course, the criminal side of whatever took place, what led to his arrest will be taken into account as well."

[Read next: Why the media singles out wrongdoing by firefighters, EMTs]

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(c)2021 The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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