Six Miami, Florida firefighters were fired Wednesday after a September 9 incident in which they hung a noose over a photo of a black colleague’s family and drew a penis on a picture of his wife.
During a police investigation, more than 20 people were interviewed under oath, and nearly a dozen firefighters were investigated. Of those investigated, five remain employed by the department but are under close scrutiny, reported The Miami Herald.
Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said in a statement that investigators had uncovered “sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct” by the city’s employees. After the incident was reported, personnel assigned to the station were transferred, and 11 firefighters were relieved of their duty with pay.
“We cannot and will not tolerate behavior that is disrespectful, hurtful and compromises the integrity of the department and the City of Miami,” Alfonso said.
A noose made of twine was hung over a family photo belonging to a black lieutenant at the station. Lewd pictures were also drawn over several photos of his family members, including one of his wife and one of his children with their grandmother.
The six firefighters terminated were William W. Bryson, Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana and Alejandro Sese. Their termination letters said that the firefighters “defaced several personal photos of a fellow firefighter with graphic and obscene phallic renderings.”
According to the Herald, it is possible that more employees could be suspended or demoted in the coming weeks.
“It is the policy of the City of Miami to provide a workplace for all employees that is free from intimidation, threats or violent acts,” Alfonso said.
The city will have a press conference to discuss the terminations Friday morning.
(Article By James Carter)