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Miami-Dade captain demoted over Facebook post testifies at arbitration hearing. Brian Beckmann stands by comment posted off-duty in Trayvon Martin case.

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STATter911.com previous coverage of this story

Click here to watch report on Brian Beckmann’s tesimony

A Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue captain demoted last May to firefighter after posting a controversial comment to his personal Facebook page about the Trayvon Martin case testified yesterday at his arbitration hearing. According to news reports, Brian Beckmann, who wrote that urban youth were products of “(expletive), ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents” and made disparaging remarks about a prosecutor, mostly stood his ground on his comments and his right to make them.

WFOR-TV:

At the arbitration hearing, Beckmann, speaking for the first time publicly, said the use of a single profanity in the posting was offensive, but none of the rest was in “the context” that it was offered.

In a statement given early on the Miami Herald, Beckmann said he was a “private citizen” with the “same right to freely express an opinion on any subject” as any other citizen.

On his Facebook page, however, Beckmann held himself out as more than a private citizen.

“I did identify myself somewhere in there, I believe I did identify myself as a captain of Station 65,” Beckmann conceded under grilling by an assistant county attorney.

WPLG-TV:

Beckmann is asking the arbitrator to reinstate him because he believes his right to due process was violated. He says the determination of his punishment was based on politics and not objective judgment by his supervisors.

“This was a very predominant issue in the media. You couldn’t turn on a TV or sit at a table at a fire station without people talking about it in some context,” said Beckmann. “It was, on top of that, extremely frustrating for me to hear what I heard in that press conference. This was something that invoked a response in me that, I was upset, I was very upset at Angela Corey for her actions. I found it very irresponsible.”

In January, the county made its case to an arbitrator. The county argued Beckmann violated its social media policy by speaking on behalf of his fellow coworkers in his private post.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Fire21

    If he identified himself in the post as the Captain of Station 65, then he indeed did show himself as a representative of the Fire Dept, and not just a private citizen. By doing so, he placed himself at the mercy of whatever regulations the Dept has regarding social media. If he broke those rules, then disciplinary action was justified. Whether his comments were right or wrong has no bearing on his judgement as a violator of the regulations.

  • Capt Dick

    Go tote lumber on a construction site , you can say what you want. Work as a professional firefighter in a department with a social media policy in place… Here’s your sign.

  • FirefighterBlack

    If they give him back his rank who will be assigned to work under him, whites only? Will he be assigned to only houses in white neighborhoods, how’s that fair to the other white officers who can use good judgement? If he was my Captain he’d have to watch his back at every minute of the day, night and every call. How’s he going to give an evaluation to minority ffs? He’d better give me high marks every time or he’ll get a complaint filed on him for being the ignorant racist that he is.

    • PAFF

      People mess up everyday thats life. Did he mess up yes was it worth all this trouble? no it wasnt. and as for you FirefighterBlack Thats the exact type of mentality he is talking about.. Just because he has an opinion doesn’t mean he is a racist or that he cant serve or work with minorities. You sir are an asshole and I can see how you act and that’s unprofessional and sounds like your willing to blackmail white firefighters and superiors to get what you want and that’s sad. I am sorry but there is an entire generation of worthless self entitled children and adults that wont and have never worked and they are nothing but a social disease that is destroying this great nation through being and living as a stereotype instead of trying to be and do better. Malcolm X and Dr. King would be ashamed at the black community and its current way of life they didn’t fight for the changes they did so you can sit around on welfare and act like wanna be gangsters and wanna be basketball stars. Learn educate yourselves and your community to be better that’s the only solution and stop blaming everyone else aka the white man aka everyone else but yourselves. I grew up poor and I got myself out of that and so can everyone else. And before you start the I am a racist crap I have black, Asian, and Native american in my family so don’t even go that route.

      • Ponderer

        I am uninterested in whether he is a racist. However, describing urban youths (which is simply a PC expression of black youths) as “products of their failed, (expletive), ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents” is a racist comment even if racism wasn’t in his heart.

        Let us not forget, the reason he said that was in a rankled defense against racial profiling. So he is saying racial profiling may not exist, it’s just that the urban minority just deserves to be singled out as troublemakers. He may not have had racism in his mind and in his heart when he said that. But, to dismiss a minority group in whole based on nothing BUT their minority status as the only stated factor in their being failed, ignorant, pathetic, and welfare dependent. I’m ignoring the swear, that’s nothing but sensational mess to me.

        The others, specifically welfare dependent, that’s empirical, and census data tells us no, not everyone in the urban demographic is on welfare. It is higher in the urban demographic, most work minimum wage jobs and need school meal assistance for children and other things. I get why frustrated people enjoy such assumptions, but such absolutes are not even close to being factually accurate.

      • Ponderer

        I do note however, that PAFF describes himself as being Black, as well as Asian and Native American, and claims to have lived in a black community that he got himself out of. However he then refers to those ethnic groups and communities as others ‘Dr. King would be a ashamed a the black community … YOU can sit around on welfare’, ‘learn to educate YOURselves and YOUR community’. Someone who grew up in that community wouldn’t normally talk about it with such foreign terms.

        I say that as a simple thought exercise. Regardless, PAFF may not have racism in their heart when they described the black community in broad sweeping terms as having a current way of life that involves being wanna be gangsters and basketball stars, and assumes that they aren’t learning, educating themselves and trying to get better generation to generation, and of course assuming that they take no responsibility and instead blame others wholesale for their problems.

        PAFF may not have had racism in their heart when they did that, however that individual act was extremely racist.

    • Robert Kramer

      Perfectly said PAFF.

    • Robert Kramer

      You sound like a real prize.

  • Just A Fireman

    Captain Beckmann has worked his entire career in “urban” areas serving all races and ethnicities. His personnel file is public information. He has not a single complaint in his career. Don’t you think if this guy was some kind of racist he would have at least one citizen complaint against him?

    Get a grip folks. I see plenty of people urban white folk running around the city acting like thugs and generally misbehaving. Beckmann’s post says nothing about race or skin color or ethnic origin.

  • Anonymous

    Stupid to post that comment online but his points are true. One more example of why people just need to stay off social media sites.

    • Legeros

      Agreed. Get me outta here, Dave!

  • Anonymous

    Promote to Batt Chief. People are so fast to call a while male a racist but when Minorities make comments of the white race its fine and considered a joke. It was his personal opinion and he did so on his personal account. Just because his employer is listed on his facebook page action should NOT be taken. Maybe he was once proud to work for the department.

  • BH

    Did his social media PROFILE identify him as a FD captain, or did the offensive POST identify him? I think there’s a pretty big difference. If he says “I’m the Captain of Station 65 for XX FD, and I say ______”, then fire away.