Rob Brown steps down as Fresno's fire chief

FRESNO, Calif.

The Fresno City Manager says Deputy Chief Kerri Donis will continue as interim fire chief. A nationwide search to find Brown's replacement will now begin.

So far Rob Brown and his attorney have rejected plea bargains made by the district attorney's office. But now that he has turned in his resignation, his attorney says the limitation of being fire chief is no longer on the table.

Action News legal analyst, Tony Capozzi, says this is an attempt at protecting the possibility of a future with another fire department. Fifty-one days after Rob Brown bailed out of the Fresno County Jail, he resigned as Fresno's fire chief.

"We had a discussion about it. He took time after he left my office, to make his final decision. Then he decided to pull the plug. He does not want to cause anymore disruption in the fire department," said Marshall Hodgkins, Rob Brown's Attorney.

Disruption has surrounded Brown and his family, at least publicly, since June 12. That is when Fresno county sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call from Brown's son.

On the call Browns wife Beth described being knocked down twice, she also said her sons stepped in to protect her from their father who had been drinking. Brown is facing five felony domestic violence charges along with a misdemeanor charge.

"If he has a felony conviction the career is over, he's not going to be back in law enforcement," Tony Capozzi said.

Capozzi says by leaving the chief's office Brown has a better chance at pleading down the charges in his case.

"If he can get a misdemeanor out of this, which will probably end up to be, and completes his probation without any problems the case may ultimately be dismissed down the line," Capozzi said.

Capozzi says Brown's resignation could also be an attempt to limit what else is released in the criminal court proceedings. During Browns trial previous instances of domestic violence that occurred before he moved to Fresno were brought up. Brown's attorney says even with the resignation this will be a long process for the former chief.

"He would love to continue on with his career and what he does. But in his words, this has been a life changing experience, he's dealing with that," Hodgkins said.

Brown's case returns to the courts next week. His resignation comes about one year after moving to Fresno to become fire chief.

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