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Marchers support firefighter facing discipline over Ferguson protest

One of the march organizers said the firefighter was acknowledging a friend in the crowd

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — More than 60 people marched Thursday in a show of support for a city firefighter who is facing possible department discipline for making a gesture of support from a headquarters window during a Nov. 25 demonstration.

The Providence Journal reported that Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said signaling support for demonstrators while on duty was a violation of department rules against political activity. He said the gesture, a right arm raised in the air, could have incited the crowd below and endangered police officers on duty there.

A video of the firefighter making the gesture was posted on YouTube. The city has not identified the firefighter, but he was recently sworn in as a new firefighter in January.

Marches said the firefighter was not trying incite protesters, but had seen a friend in the crowd holding a sign that said “equality,” and that his gesture was an acknowledgement to his friend, according to the report.

“This is a case of people jumping to a conclusion,” the marcher said.

The crowd on Thursday was peaceful as it marched chanting, “Your fist in the air, we care.”

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