By Daniel Peterson
A Miami fire boss is maintaining his decision to fire 6-firefighters suspected of placing a noose on an African-American colleague’s family photograph and drawing some lewd images on a photograph of his wife.
Chief Joseph Zahralban, of City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue, was appalled after learning of the disturbing incident.
Zahralban recently announced the sacking of Capt. William W. Bryson, Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbaugh, Alejandro Sese, David Rivera and Harold Santana after city investigators revealed “racially offensive and sexually explicit conduct” by the employees.
The firings come following a lengthy investigation into the September 9 incident—in which somebody placed a noose on a family pic of an African-American lieutenant at the station.
The authorities interviewed over 20-people under oath and many other firefighters to get everything behind the inhuman act.
“We can’t and won’t tolerate behavior that’s hurtful, disrespectful, and compromises our integrity,” said Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso. “It’s the policy of Miami City to provide a working environment for all employees that are free from intimidation, violent acts or threats.”
In all, 11-firefighters were suspended, but with pay ahead of the recent terminations, he continued. Five others remain reinstated by the department—but are under intense scrutiny.
On top of the noose, sources with some knowledge of the matter revealed that the Black lieutenant’s colleagues also drew “obscene phallic renderings” on his photographs, including one of his wife and others of his kids and their grandmother.
Ironically, the fire station where the incident happened was dedicated to honor, the first black firefighter to be hired within Florida’s major department—Willie Waters.
Termination letters issued to the firefighters detailed that Sese was the one who originally came up with the idea of defacing the pictures and retrieved them.
Meanwhile, Rumbaugh, Meizoso, and Santana scrawled penile drawings on the photographs, and later, Rivera returned them back to their frames.
Mr. Bryson is specifically accused because he turned a blind eye to the vandalism and brushed off requests from his subordinates to report the awful incident.
According to the city’s civil service laws, the ousted firefighters can, however, dispute their terminations. Reports are that more employees could be punished in the coming weeks, but they will likely just be demotions and suspensions.
This is the second incident in South Florida, involving firefighters and a noose this year. Back in June, a noose was spotted hung over the chair of one African-American firefighter recruit in Pompano Beach.