Six Miami firefighters were fired on Nov. 1 after someone hung a noose over an African-American fireman’s family photo and drew a penis on a picture of his wife.
The terminations come on the heels of a nearly two-month investigation where police interviewed more than 20 people under oath and investigated about a dozen firefighters after the Sept. 9 incident occurred at a city fire station, according to the Miami Herald.
The family photos featured the wife, children, and the mother of an African-American lieutenant. The photos were removed from the frames and “graphic and obscene phallic renderings” were drawn on the images, before the photos were returned to their frames. One of the firefighters also created a noose from twine and placed it over the frames, the paper reported.
In a statement, Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said investigators uncovered “sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct” by the city’s employees. He said personnel assigned to the station were transferred after the incident was reported, and 11 firefighters were relieved of duty with pay ahead of the recent terminations.
“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.
Under the city’s civil service procedures, the fired firefighters can challenge their firings.
Miami International Association of Firefighters President Freddy Delgado says the union is aware of the incident but “remains unclear about the facts.”