Nine New York firefighters have been suspended after sharing racist messages and memes about the killing of George Floyd.
The nine firefighters were suspended without pay from the New York City Fire Department for anywhere between a few days to months, The New York Times reported. In the messages and memes last April, the firefighters mocked Floyd’s dying moments with Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck, the Times reported. It said they also exchanged other racist messages, including one about the use of fire hoses on protesters.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Niro told the Times at least one of the firefighters will leave the department once the suspension is over. A spokesperson called the suspensions the most severe punishments ever handed down in the history of the Fire Department of the City of New York, The New York Times reported in Friday’s editions.
After looking into complaints by several Black firefighters, the department suspended the nine firefighters without pay for periods ranging from a few days to six months, Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. One of the firefighters is expected to leave the agency after his suspension ends, Nigro said. In addition, three fire department officers were reprimanded.
Black firefighters told the Times they believed the suspensions fell far short of addressing what they consider deep-rooted problems in the department, where leaders have acknowledged that racism, sexism and harassment have been tolerated.
Nigro said the department has embraced diversity initiatives and welcomed historically diverse classes into the academy in recent years. He said the department is working to become more inclusive, but he also admitted fault. “We’ve welcomed the folks in and now we have to make them feel welcome,” Nigro told the newspaper. “We have to make them feel as if they belong. And in some cases, we failed.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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