A WhatsApp group comment has brought a swift end to the nine-year career of a City of Miami Fire Rescue firefighter. Kevin Newcomb is among the latest SMACSS (Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome) victims in the fire service. Newcomb’s anti-police comments came following the murder of Miami-Dade Police Detective Cesar Echaverry.
A Miami firefighter who drew backlash over his controversial “who cares” message about the death of a Miami-Dade detective in the line of duty has been fired, his chief said.
Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban announced Friday that the department had fired one of their firefighters after confirming he’d posted the message.
“We have confirmed that the firefighter in question authored a written statement using a social media platform that demonstrated a disregard for human life, demonstrated a violent and antagonistic stance towards civil servants and represented conduct unbecoming of a Miami Firefighter,” Zahralban said in a statement. “These characteristics make it impossible for this individual to carry out his duties as a first responder in the City of Miami.”
Zahralban didn’t name the firefighter but he was identified Thursday as Kevin Newcomb.
The former Miami firefighter who was terminated over a rant that offended the local law enforcement community at a time of grief released a public apology on Friday evening saying he wished he could take his words back.
Kevin Newcomb, then a Miami firefighter, used a WhatsApp group chat, to write an opinion after learning that a robbery suspect had shot Detective Cesar “Echy” Echaverry while on duty on Monday night in Liberty City.
Echaverry, 29, died on Wednesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center — after a five-year career with the Miami-Dade Police Department. Just hours after a procession and a motorcade escorted Echaverry’s casket to a funeral home, Newcomb addressed the possibility that Echaverry’s family might have read his post.
“I wish them as much peace as possible and they deserve only kindness and support in this time. I hate to see suffering anywhere, and the worst kind of suffering is in those grieving a family member taken too soon. I take responsibility for the words I wrote, and I am so sorry to his loved ones if I have made this time worse for them,” he wrote.