FDNY firefighters suspended over racist George Floyd messages

FDNY firefighters suspended over racist George Floyd messages

The FDNY suspended nine firefighters without pay after a thread of racist messages and memes between members mocking the death of George Floyd last year was uncovered.

The department launched an investigation after the missives were reported, resulting in the FDNY’s largest punitive action in its history, officials said.

“When these memes were reported we investigated in and the suspension were the result,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long confirmed to The Post.

The suspensions — ranging from a few days to six months — were first reported by The New York Times on Friday.

Several black firefighters had reported to department brass that white members exchanged grotesque texts and images mocking Floyd’s dying moments, bragging about how cops can “legally shoot black children,” the newspaper reported.

Some firefighters also discussed using hoses on protesters during summer 2020’s social unrest, a move banned by department leadership, according to the report.

The suspended members included some who posted the abhorrent memes and messages, or who served in a supervisory capacity, Long said.

FDNY racism
Commissioner Daniel Nigro has been at the helm of New York’s Bravest since 2014.
Gregory P. Mango

The department has been going through a dramatic demographic change over the past decade, Long noted, although it remains dominated by white members.

Of the more than 11,000 FDNY members, 75 percent are white, down from 93 percent more than a decade ago. There were no new FDNY hires from between 2009 and 2014.

Its not the first time the FDNY has been hit with accusations of racism under Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who was placed at the helm of the department by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. 

The FDNY was sued in 2018 by one of its black members who claimed his bigot bosses relegated him to driving delivery vans instead of fighting fires.

The department was wrapped up in another controversy a year prior, when it hired the son of a former fire commissioner who had resigned his EMS job in disgrace over his racist and anti-Semitic rants on Twitter.

Black FDNY members have also reported getting hazed by their colleagues. In 2016, seven Midtown firefighters were disciplined for violating the force’s “zero tolerance” hazing policy in an incident that targeted a black member.

George Floyd mural in Canarsie, Brooklyn
The suspended firefighters last year had a thread of racist messages and memes mocking the death of George Floyd, seen above in a Brooklyn mural.
Paul Martinka

A Brooklyn federal judge in 2011 appointed a diversity monitor over the FDNY after a 2007 lawsuit by the Vulcan Society of black firefighters and the US Justice Department charged the department discriminated against minorities.

The department has since made a concerted effort to begin recruiting from predominantly black and brown neighborhoods to address its racial disparity. 

By 2017, a majority of the applicants who took the FDNY entrance exam in were people of color — and more women took the test than ever before.

“Our unprecedented recruitment campaign has succeeded in drawing interest in a firefighting career from more young men and women than ever before,” Nigro said in a statement at the time.

“And our goal to expand and further diversify the applicant pool by attracting more women and people of color has also achieved record-breaking success.”

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