Complaint Alleges Hartford Fire Chief Urged Colleague to Lie Under Oath

More trouble may be brewing for the Hartford firefighter removed from his post as interim assistant fire chief as allegations come to light that he urged a fellow fireman to lie under oath.

Hartford Fire Captain Luis Ocasio said in a complaint filed with the city’s Human Resources Department in October that then-Interim Assistant Fire Chief Terry Waller, who has recently returned to his former role of deputy chief, urged him to give false testimony regarding the fitness of another firefighter who allegedly showed up drunk to the firehouse.

According to the complaint, Waller called Ocasio the day before the Sept. 17 hearing to remind him of a time change, then said he “did not know why an outside agency was doing this” and the incident “was already being handled internally by the fire department and the city.”

“We take care of our own, ‘the strong take care of the weak,’” Waller allegedly told Ocasio.

Waller added that “exposing all this puts a black eye on us as firemen” and “puts us in a bad light, people are looking at us and it reflects poorly having this out there,” Ocasio wrote in the complaint.

Ocasio responded by saying he always tries “to do the right thing for the right reasons” and goes to sleep every night with a clear conscience.

Waller told Ocasio he didn’t need to get up on the stand “and blow things up or sensationalize things,” the complaint alleges. According to Ocasio, the assistant chief then made a veiled threat.

“Chief Waller stated that I would not want that career promise to be jeopardized by my testimony at this hearing. I took this to mean retaliation for speaking out, I took this to mean that somehow my possibility of promotion or advancement would be jeopardized by going before the DPH and giving full and truthful testimony,” Ocasio wrote in the complaint.

Doug Caldwell, the firefighter accused of drinking on the job, resigned in October.

City officials are investigating the complaint but have declined to comment. Waller has not returned a request for comment.

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