Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Councilmember Johnson makes statement regarding Houston Firefighters noose incident

"The noose is a symbol of Hatred that reflects a very painful time in this country’s past. I am sure that you are aware of this history. I am very disappointed that the action of one firefighter has created such a negative reflection of our first responders. I do not agree with how this situation was handled, I believe the reprimand to be insufficient to address the wrong that was done by Captain Smith. The City of Houston Firefighters must ensure that every member of the Department feels safe from being racially intimidated."

"There is one thing that we can never take back; a lost opportunity. This Department now has an opportunity to utilize this incident to show the Fire Department’s commitment to ensuring there is no hatred shown behind the shield. We must salvage what we can in using these incidents to correctly address incidents like this in the future. We must institute a Zero Tolerance regarding racial symbols, slurs and gestures. I am extremely concerned that the light discipline of Captain Smith has sent the wrong message to other firefighters who may be inclined to use these methods to intimidate men of color."

"Our policy must be that there will be no room in the Department for this behavior."

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