MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The fate of six City of Miami firefighters, who are fighting for their jobs after taking part in a racist and lewd prank at their fire station, is in the hands of the city’s firefighters union.
Captain William W. Bryson, Lt. Alejandro Sese, and firefighters Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh and Harold Santana were all terminated in November, after being accused of placing a noose on the desk of a black colleague and defacing family photos.
Lt. Robert Webster discovered the racist symbol on his shift in Fire Station 12, the day Hurricane Irma hit. There was a hangman’s noose and sexual images drawn on his family photos.
The firefighters have filed grievances contesting their terminations. The union will either support their grievance claim or deny it.
The firefighters actions were condemned by the Mayor, City Manager and Fire Chief and the terminations are something Lt. Webster hopes remains in place.
“What I would like is for the decision made by the City Manager, by the Mayor and by our department director to stand,” said Lt. Webster.
However, he is not sure what will be decided.
“I would be lying if I told you that I do, I honestly don’t. The line at the department is split right now with more than half feeling like the guys who were terminated were the victims.”
The NAACP would also like to see the terminations stand.
“It’s 2017, I can’t imagine having to come in and open my locker and see a penis drawn over my wife’s face. I mean that’s sickening and the noose, a noose would not be put upon a white person’s locker no matter how much they disliked him, the noose was there because race was involved,” said Brad Bruno of the Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP.
The fired men believe they have been unjustly punished. According to documents released by the city, all of those involved admitted their part in the photo vandalism but no one admitted creating or placing the noose, city officials said.
Union board members are reviewing each individual firefighters discipline and determining if it was just or excessive according to their involvement in the case.