SLO firefighter tried in bar fight has been fired from job

acornejo@thetribunenews.comNovember 7, 2012 

John Ryan Mason sits in court during his assault trial in September.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the San Luis Obispo fire chief. His name is Charlie Hines.

The San Luis Obispo firefighter who was tried for assault and battery after he got into a fight with another man no longer works for the city.

John Ryan Mason, 35, a fire engineer and paramedic who worked for the city for about 10 years, was terminated Tuesday, according to city officials. They would not discuss why Mason was let go, citing personnel confidentiality rules.

He had been on unpaid administrative leave since April. He was put on desk duty after the assault occurred in June 2011.

Mason has 15 business days to appeal the decision to terminate his job, said City Attorney Christine Dietrick. He has not yet filed an appeal.

In September, a mistrial was declared after a jury failed to produce a verdict in Mason’s trial. After three days of deliberation, eight jurors voted to acquit Mason while four believed he was guilty. Unless a unanimous decision is rendered in a criminal case, a mistrial is declared. The District Attorney's Office later decided not to retry the case.

Mason faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. The victim, Jory Brigham, 33, of Los Osos, suffered 17 facial fractures during a June 2011 altercation at Pappy McGregor's Bar & Grill in San Luis Obispo.

The prosecution argued that Mason attacked Brigham, while the defense argued that Mason was only defending himself. Both men had attended the wedding of mutual friends that day.

Fire Chief Charlie Hines said the department is in the process of screening more than 400 applicants who have applied for a handful of open positions.

Those applicants will be whittled down to 15 for final interviews. A training academy will be held in January.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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