Firefighter files complaint over 'Black Lives Matter' pin

The firefighter maintains the pin is within the department’s policy standards

By FireRescue1 Staff

EUREKA, Calif. — A firefighter has filed a grievance after being ordered to remove a "Black Lives Matter" pin.

KRCR  reported that firefighter Matt McFarland had worn the pin since November 2016 and was told by Humboldt Bay Fire to take the pin off of his shirt in March.

McFarland claims the pin meets Humboldt Bay Fire policy standards, which state that one fire service-related pin may be worn if it is in good taste.

“My pin is without a doubt related to my service as a firefighter because recent political events have created an environment of heightened fear and anxiety among communities of color, and increased distrust of law enforcement. This sentiment is highly detrimental to our ability, as emergency responders, to do our jobs well," said McFarland.

McFarland continued to explain the importance of the pin.

“Nobody is safe when a large portion of our community is reluctant to engage with emergency services when these services are needed. We can choose to continue to deny or ignore the difficult experiences of the people suffering most in our communities – or we can choose to listen to them, believe their lived experiences, and work together to improve the systems we share. I believe that this is a discussion worth having, and I want to live in a community that is courageous enough to have these conversations, even when they are messy, uncomfortable and imperfect.”

A public hearing will be held on the issue Wednesday.

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