DC firefighter on leave after Facebook rant

Norman Brooks was placed on leave Wednesday following a slew of inflammatory Facebook posts about police shootings

WASHINGTON — A D.C. firefighter who is under investigation for social media posts regarding police brutality was placed on administrative leave Wednesday. 

Brooks has been a firefighter with D.C. Fire and EMS since 2007, and recently came under fire for posting inflammatory remarks on the recent police shooting in Baton Rouge.

A post later deleted by Brooks said that, “Those pigs in Baton Rouge need to start turning up the same way … It’s time to stop praying, stop protesting, start buying guns and start protecting ourselves from these (expletive) racist cops.”

Brooks told FOX5 that his statements were a reaction to police shootings that have not led to criminal prosecutions. 

“I’m not wishing death upon anyone,” Brooks said. “All I’m saying is if a person off the street commits a crime, they’re punished for it — these people are not being punished.”

The firefighter also said that he is entitled to his opinions, which were made on his personal Facebook account. 

“If anybody, whether it’s a criminal cop or a criminal person, tries to attack you, or makes you feel some sort of way inside your own community, you have the right as an American citizen to defend yourself,” Brooks said. 

Former D.C. Fire Communications Director Lon Walls said Brook’s should not have shared his thoughts on Facebook. Walls was suspended in 2012 for a Facebook post regarding a firefighter strike that called the fire chief at the time racist. 

“I learned the hard way — if you’re a public employee you cannot do that … It was a hard lesson, but it was well-learned,” Walls told WTOP.

ACLU D.C. Legal Director Arthur Spitzer said that Brooks’ statements were well-within his rights. “He could have chosen his words better, but what was said was not a threat against anybody; it was just a general expression,” Spitzer said. 

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