Firefighters fired for placing noose over photo of black colleague, drawing penis on picture of his wife
The pranksters created a noose from twine, several of the lieutenant’s family photos defaced
Captain William W. Bryson, Lieutenant Alejandro Sese, as well as firemen Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbaugh, David Rivera and Harold Santana were all terminated from service
City of Miami Fire Rescue Dept said the men were dismissed for ‘sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct’ at a fire station adding that work must be ‘free from intimidation, threats or violent acts’
The terminations, handed down Wednesday, follow a police investigation into the Sept. 9 incident at a city fire station
City earlier transferred personnel assigned to the station after the incident, 11 firefighters were relieved of duty with pay ahead of Wednesday’s firings
The six terminated firefighters deny the allegations against them and have the right to appeal
Firefighters union says it is ‘disturbed by the allegations’ but wants full facts
Captain Bryson’s dad is former Miami Fire Chief, William “Shorty” Bryson, who in the 1980s kicked 64 black firefighters out of the Union
The men claimed they were victimized over their support of the city’s affirmative action program, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later found that the firefighters’ civil rights had been violated
Six Miami firefighters have been fired after someone hung a noose over a black colleague’s family photo and drew lewd images on a picture of his wife.
The terminations, handed down Wednesday, follow a police investigation into the Sept. 9 incident at a city fire station.
More than 200 people were interviewed under oath and nearly a dozen firefighters were investigated, including five who remain employed by the department and under scrutiny. Among those fired were Captain William W. Bryson, the son of former Fire Chief William “Shorty” Bryson. The other five firemen are Lieutenant Alejandro Sese, as well as, Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbaugh, David Rivera and Harold Santana were all terminated from service
The City of Miami Fire Rescue Department said the men were dismissed for ‘sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct’ at a fire station following an investigation.
Someone created a noose out of twine, and several of the lieutenant’s family photos were defaced with ‘phallic renderings’, theMiami Herald reported.
In a statement, Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said investigators uncovered “sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct” by the city’s employees. Personnel assigned to the station were earlier transferred after the incident was reported.
“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. 11 firefighters were relieved of duty with pay ahead of Wednesday’s firings.
Authorities initially responded to the fire station on a potential case of vandalism but ultimately carried out the probe as a civil investigation that was turned over to fire department executives, police said.
The Miami Herald reports that someone created a noose out of twine and hung it over a family photo of an African American lieutenant. In rash of obviously race baiting behavior, which the Miami Firefighters’ union described as ‘disturbing’, several of the target’s colleagues also drew lewd pictures on several other photos, including one of his wife and one of his children and their grandmother, according to sources.
According to termination letters sent to the firefighters, Sese came up with the idea of defacing the photos and retrieved them. Meizoso, Rumbaugh and Santana drew lewd, phallic images on the photos, and Rivera returned them to their picture frames. Bryson is accused of failing to stop the vandalism and of ignoring requests from subordinates to come forward and report the incident.
Investigators, however, could not determine who made the noose, according to sources.
Reached Wednesday, Rumbaugh and Sese declined interviews. Neither had hired an attorney.
“I apologize but I really have no comments today,” said Rumbaugh.
The incident is just the latest blemish for a fire department with a history of lewd pranks. Infamously, rookies in the late 1980s were handcuffed while other firefighters sat on their face during the perverse “scrotum on the head” hazing ritual.
Four firefighters were fired, but reinstated after investigators determined that “scrotumizing” was an old department tradition.
Captain Bryson is the son of former Miami fire chief, William “Shorty” Bryson, [photo], who was rapped for anti-EOE activities in the dept in the 1980s
Freddy Delgado, president of Miami’s International Association of Firefighters, said the union was made aware of the incident when it was discovered by Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, but remains unclear about the facts of the investigation. He said people shouldn’t judge the fired firefighters without knowing more about what happened.
“We expect all of our members to be provided a safe, comfortable workplace and also to fair and complete investigations and just discipline when it’s warranted,” Delgado said.