The Miami Herald reported that six Miami firefighters have been fired after they hung a noose on a black colleague’s family photo. Photos of the firefighter’s children and mother were also defaced with lewd drawings of genitals in the September 9th incident.
The firings came Wednesday after police interviewed 20 people at the fire station.
Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said investigators found “sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct”.
“We cannot and will not tolerate behaviour that is disrespectful, hurtful and compromises the integrity of the department and the City of Miami,” Mr Alfonso said in a statement following the police investigation.
Alfonso also said personnel assigned to the station were transferred after the incident was reported, adding that 11 firefighters were relieved from duty with pay ahead of Wednesday’s firings.
Firefighters Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana and Alejandro Sese were fired, as well as William Bryson – the son of a former fire chief- were all terminated.
According the Herald, more than 20 people were interviewed under oath and nearly a dozen firefighters were investigated. Five remain employed by the department and under scrutiny.
In the termination letters, officials said Sese was the one who came up with the idea of obtaining the photos and defacing them. Meizoso, Rumbaugh and Santana drew the phallic images while Rivera returned them to their picture frames.
Bryson is accused of failing to stop the vandalism and ignoring requests from subordinates to come forward and report the incident, the Herald reported.
Under their contracts, they firefighters can challenge their terminations.
In the nearby city of Pompano Beach, Florida, four firefighter recruits were dismissed in August following a similar incident, in which a noose was hung over the desk of a black recruit.