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Protest SMACSS, again: New York fire chief suspended for racist comment that embarrassed its members

Washington Heights Fire Department Chief Chuck Healy says his comments aren't racist

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Just when I said out loud we seem to be getting fewer cases of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) during the current nationwide protests than during previous unrest, the floodgates opened. Clearly, I spoke too soon. There are at least four additional incidents involving ranking officers in fire departments across the country. This post is about an incident in Orange County, New York. I will get to the others soon.

Washington Heights Fire Department Chief Chuck Healy has been suspended for calling protesters “pavement apes” in a Facebook comment. Healy told Spectrum News reporter Ben Nandy the comment isn’t racist and blames the news media. Both the fire department and the Town of Wallkill have condemned the comments. Washington Heights Fire Department, in its statement (below), says its members are embarrassed and urge Healy to apologize.

Ben Nandy, Spectrum News:

“This has got me upset, really upset, that people think I’m a racist. That’s disgusting,” Healy said.

When asked whether he uses the term around friends and family, he replied, “yeah, absolutely.”

Several neighbors and some other firefighters told Spectrum News, Healy’s words give them pause, knowing the chief plays a major role in community and educational events.

“The media is part of this country’s problem, and you’re the media,” Healy said to a Spectrum News Reporter. “You’re just as bad as the freaking democrats.”

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