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NY fire captain suspended after allegedly taking FFs to Juneteenth spoof party while on duty

A Rochester firefighter is seeking $4M in damages from the city after accusing his captain of forcing him and two junior FFs to attend a racist event


Photo/Democrat & Chronicle

UPDATE: 9:34 a.m. PT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Additional reporting from the Democrat & Chronicle reported that 14-year veteran Jerrod Jones, who filed the complaint, is on leave from RFD because of emotional distress and fear of retaliation.

Jones said he filed the claim, which seeks $4 million in damages from the city, only after RFD took no action in response to his internal complaint about being forced to attend the faux Juneteenth party.

As reported: “Jones said the event included a large cut-out of Donald Trump, large Juneteenth flags with ‘buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken prominently displayed’ around them. Gift bags included a small bottle of cognac and a Juneteenth commemorative cup. There were also photos of Democratic politicians, including City Councilman Mitch Gruber and members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board, on stakes in the grass.”

Attending an explicitly racist event would reportedly violate RFD ethical standards.


Geoff Herbert

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — An Upstate New York fire captain has been suspended after a complaint was filed about an alleged “Juneteenth spoof party.” reports a Black firefighter in Rochester, N.Y., filed a complaint against his captain that accused the captain of forcing him and two other subordinates to attend an event mocking Juneteenth, a federal holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. The firefighter, who has not yet been publicly identified, also said he saw “shocking displays of racism and misogyny” in the complaint.

The captain has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation, according to WROC.

“Immediately upon receiving the complaint, I notified the Department of Human Resource Management. The allegations are serious and we will get to the bottom of what happened and address the allegations swiftly and transparently in adherence with our legal guidelines and requirements,” Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez said in a statement.

WROC reports the firefighter is expected to announce a lawsuit during a press conference with his attorney, former colleagues, friends, community members and elected officials.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, was established as a federal holiday in 2020. The holiday marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.


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