Ruling decides firefighter can't wear 'Black Lives Matter' pin

The main argument in the hearing was if the pin was part of a social or political movement


By FireRescue1 Staff

EUREKA, Calif. — A hearing determined that a firefighter is not allowed to wear a “Black Lives Matter” pin on his uniform.

KRCR reported that firefighter Matt McFarland appealed Fire Chief Bill Gillespie’s order to remove the pin. Chief Gillespie said it violated Humboldt Bay Fire’s uniform codes.

"We work to stay neutral," Chief Gillespie said. "We don't take a side or a stance on any kind of a movement because while it may support some members of the community, it may offend or put off other members of the community."

A large number of Eureka residents supported McFarland during the hearing.

"This is sickening that one man wants to take a stand in this community and everybody goes against him," community member Kim Trevillion said. "I'm standing firm. I will stand with him in solidarity, and this community needs to come together.”

Fellow firefighter Jason Campillo was not in support of McFarland’s pin.

"While I support Matt as my union brother, I always support my brothers whether it's the streets, in a fire, whatever. I do not support him on this," Campillo said. "I will not and I cannot stand for it. I'm a strict constitutionalist politically, but this is no place to espouse your political views."

After nearly six hours, the board adjourned to make a decision.

The board stated that the decision was "based on policy and not its agreement or disagreement with the Black Lives Matter movement."

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