MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new internal memo gives us an idea of why the six terminated firefighters defaced a black colleague’s family photo and raises the question how and who placed a noose on those frames.
In the internal memo, one of the firefighters said defacing photos was “an ongoing joke in the department.”
Lt. Robert Webster discovered sexual images drawn on his family photos and a noose on the frames on his shift in Fire Station 12.
The internal memo released suggests Lt. Alejandro Sese and Capt. William Bryson lied when interviewed.
According to sworn testimony, Lt. Sese “initiated the topic” of defacing the photos and is said to have taken them from Lt. Webster’s room.
The motive, according to sworn testimony, was that some firefighters were upset about Lt. Webster leaving his personal photos out in the dorm room.
The memo says firefighters Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbough and Harold Santana drew on the photos.
Lt. Webster, a 17-year veteran, spoke to CBS4 News on camera but asked that we do not show his face.
“When I first found out the names of who was involved, I never had negative reaction to them,” said Lt. Webster. “So my first question was why?”
Rumbough under sworn testimony said “he felt that he and the others were peer-pressured into drawing.”
Rumbough said there was a meeting and several conversations about coming clean but Capt. Bryson and Lt. Sese “stated not to talk to anyone” – and that Lt. Sese had urged him and others “to not mention that it was he who brought the photos down” to the group.
In a sworn testimony, Lt. Sese admits to his involvement but denies advising others from omitting information. He also denied knowing anything about the noose. The memo says in a written statement Lt. Sese admits to making a mistake.
The memo adds that no one spoke or knew of the noose during or after defacing of the photos.
Five more are facing discipline or demotion. The city will explored expanded sensitivity training for all employees.