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In Ronkonkoma, New York on Long Island a firefighter who was chairman of a fire district has stepped down from his post and apologized for his comments on a newspaper’s Facebook page about an additional floor being added to an East Meadow mosque. Lakeland Fire District’s Gerald “Jerry” O’Mara has been suspended since mid-August and will now face an additional 30-days suspension for violation of the department’s social media policy.
In addition, Newsday reports O’Mara and the entire fire department will have to participate in sensitivity training.
“I apologize to anyone I hurt by my insensitive commenting and I am voluntarily stepping down as chairman of the board of fire commissioners,” he said, reading from a prepared statement.
O’Mara has been under investigation since mid-August, shortly after derogatory comments appeared on Newsday’s Facebook page in a response to a posting about the Long Island Muslim Society’s attempt to add a second floor to its East Meadow mosque. The comments, made by “Jerry Omara,” also identified the writer as a Lakeland fire commissioner.
The Aug. 15 comment, which has since been deleted, read: “Let them put a fifth floor on the building and then take them up to the Roof and throw them off it.”