This is an interesting story. The doctored photo of a new firefighter shows up as a screensaver on a computer inside a Jacksonville (FL) Fire & Rescue Department Station 18. The firefighter, who apparently has what one TV station described as an “Arabic-sounding name”, was made to look somewhat like a terrorist and had the caption “Jingle bombs.”
The firefighter told WJXT-TV’s Jim Piggott that he’s not bothered by the image. The problem is that quite a few other people are. The image has prompted an investigation by the department and the integrity unit of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“We have to be very careful because there are complexities attached to something like this,” said JFRD spokesman Tom Francis. “We want to make sure that each and every component is thoroughly weighted, so we are going to see how the investigation progresses before we can address if there is an actual violation as it relates to our internal policies.”
The firefighter in the picture told the union he is not offended and wishes the whole incident was behind him, but others were offended by it, including district fire Chief Terrence Jones.
“I was appalled, to be perfectly honest,” Jones said.
Jones is with the Brotherhood of Firefighters, a group that is been involved with an ongoing lawsuit with the city, the fire department and firefighters’ union. Many years ago, signs saying “welcome to the plantation” were posed in an office where black firefighters were just promoted.
“That probably was not an appropriate thing to put on the computer, but I don’t think it was done with any hate or malice and the fire fighter does not believe that,” said Union President Randy Wyse.
Wyse says the post was not a product of workplace discrimination.
In 2006, two black firefighters found a noose hanging in their lockers. In 2012, the Jax Brotherhood along with the US Department of Justice sued JFRD and the city for discrimination when it comes to hiring and promoting minorities.