Firefighter-EMT Charged With Rape Still on Active Duty

A Chicago firefighter-EMT who has been charged with rape is still on active duty, a local TV station has reported.

Erik Zuma, 31, who is based at the fire station on 44th Street and Ashland Avenue, is still responding to calls, according to CBS 2.

Zuma works as a firefighter-emergency medical technician, specializing in calls to the Chicago Fire Department from people who need medical help. According to a court document obtained by CBS, he has been charged with five felony counts, including one count of rape.

According to the document, the alleged rape in February was captured on a security camera. Cook County prosecutors allege that Zuma, referred to as D in the court document, slapped and then raped the woman, identified only as V, after she had asked him to stop.

The document read: "This part of the incident was captured on a [Ring security] camera kept in the living room. There is also corresponding audio. It captures all of the action in the living room and also captures V crying and telling D to stop."

Zuma was arrested on July 15, according to the document. The Chicago Fire Department told CBS 2 on July 28 that he was still working for the department.

In a statement, department spokesman Larry Langford told the TV station: "These allegations are deeply concerning and the Chicago Fire Department is actively cooperating with [Chicago Police Department] on its investigation."

It has been reported that Zuma knows the woman he is alleged to have raped. He has been charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault by force and one of domestic battery and bodily harm.

According to Cook County court records, Zuma has yet to enter a plea and is due back in court on August 5. Bail was set at $30,000 on July 16.

Following the publication of this story, the CFD Commissioner told Newswek: "The Chicago Fire Department takes gender-based violence, including sexual assault, and violence of any kind extremely seriously. I am aware of previous statements attributed to a CFD spokesperson regarding this matter.

"I understand that those comments were offensive and suggested that the CFD did not take the allegations against one of our members seriously. Those comments do not reflect the values of the Department or the seriousness with which we must take all allegations of gender-based violence.

"At my direction, the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigation will be expedited while Chicago Police Department conducts their concurrent criminal investigation. The allegations made against this employee are extremely serious, deeply disturbing, and do not reflect the values of the Chicago Fire Department or the City of Chicago.

"The employee in question has been removed from field responsibilities pending the outcome of both investigations and further action will be swiftly taken following the findings of IAD and the CPD. CFD is also working closely with the Mayor's Office to enhance a whole-of-government approach to gender-based violence and will continue to be engaged as both a participant and a learner to improve our role in addressing gender-based violence."

Newsweek has contacted the Chicago Police Department for comment.

The charges against Zuma come just weeks after the city council agreed to pay $1.825 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by five female paramedics who worked for the Chicago Fire Department.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, alleged that the department failed to "discipline, supervise and control" its officers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The suit also claimed: "Municipal policymakers are aware of—and condone and facilitate [the misconduct]—by their inaction, a code of silence in the CFD by which employees fail to report misconduct committed by other male officers."

Chicago Fire Department has previously declined to comment on the lawsuit or the settlement.

Zuma is charged with sexual assault
Zuma is charged with sexual assault. CPD