New York City officers have suspended 9 firefighters with out pay in reference to a string of racist messages and memes they shared on their telephones, together with ones that mocked the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis final yr, in line with a printed report.

A spokesperson referred to as the suspensions essentially the most extreme punishments ever handed down within the historical past of the Fire Department of the City of New York, The New York Times reported in Friday’s editions.

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After trying into complaints by a number of Black firefighters, the division suspended the 9 firefighters with out pay for durations starting from just a few days to 6 months, Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro stated. One of the firefighters is anticipated to depart the company after his suspension ends, Nigro stated. In addition, three hearth division officers had been reprimanded.

In the messages and memes final April, white firefighters mocked Floyd’s dying moments with Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck, the Times reported. It stated in addition they exchanged different racist messages, together with one about the usage of hearth hoses on protesters.

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Black firefighters instructed the Times they believed the suspensions fell far in need of addressing what they contemplate deep-rooted issues within the division, the place leaders have acknowledged that racism, sexism and harassment have been tolerated.

Nigro stated the division has embraced range initiatives and welcomed traditionally numerous lessons into the academy in recent times. He stated the division is working to develop into extra inclusive, however he additionally admitted fault.

“We’ve welcomed the folks in and now we have to make them feel welcome,” Nigro instructed the newspaper. “We have to make them feel as if they belong. And in some cases, we failed.”