Nashville fire chief pulled from field over 'racial, threatening' Facebook posts

The chief is accused of violating social media policy, having openly identified himself as an employee of the department and mentioning his rank


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Nashville district fire chief is facing disciplinary action after several of his Facebook posts were published on a local blog.

Tim Lankford, who has been with the Nashville Fire Department for almost 30 years, was pulled from the field while administrators for the department continue their investigation.

Deputy Director Steve Holt sent a letter to Lankford which said the posts were perceived as “racial, stereotypical, and threatening toward members of the public.” The department began investigating after Lankford's personal Facebook posts were posted on the local blog East Nashville News.

One post from Lankford says he was “so disturbed” by the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling last year that he could “barely function at his job,” reports ABC News 6.

Another seemingly threatens members of the LGBT community, saying, “The first man who goes into the restroom with my daughter won’t have to worry about the surgery.”

Lankford is accused of violating his job’s social media policy, having openly identified himself as an employee of the department and mentioning his rank as district chief.

"I don't even know why I said that stuff because I don't believe it. I've got several friends in this department who are gay or lesbian," Lankford is reported to have said at July 12 disciplinary hearing, according to The Tennesean. "I've never had my character called into question. I don't like it and I don't like hurting people."

Lankford says personal issues contributed to his state of mind when he wrote the posts. His first wife recently died. 

"If I had a clearer mind I wouldn't be sitting here," he said. "(When) I said I couldn't function at my job it wasn't because of anything the Supreme Court did it was because I had lost my wife of about 30 years ... I don't have any prejudice against anybody."

Lankford has since deleted his Facebook account.

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