NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a major embarrassment for New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, his son – an emergency medical technician hoping to be a firefighter – has quit in disgrace after posting incendiary Twitter messages about blacks and Jews.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Joseph Cassano, 23, did the right thing in resigning.
“I found the messages offensive. It’s my understanding Joe Cassano has chosen to resign,” Mayor Bloomberg told Aiello.
Joseph Cassano, a newly-minted EMT, was hoping to follow his father and become a firefighter until he was burned by ugly and insensitive messages he posted on Twitter.
“I love boob jobs,” the younger Cassano tweeted. “I wish every girl in America were forced to get one once they turn 18.”
About the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, he tweeted, “MLK could go kick rocks for all I care, but thanks for the time and a half today.”
He also tweeted, “I like Jews about as much as Hitler. Too far? Nope.”
And he tweeted, “Getting sick of all these obama lovers and taking them to the hospital because their medicare pays for an ambulance and not a cab.”
Joseph Cassano also repeatedly tweeted a derogatory street name for blacks.
Paul Washington and other leaders in the Vulcan Society – the city’s black firefighters’ association — have been fighting Commissioner Cassano in court over minority hiring. They called his son’s tweets extremely disturbing.
“That lends to a question — I wonder where young Cassano got such thinking? I wonder where he found the courage to tweet what he tweeted, to make comments about people he was supposedly serving,” said John Coombs of the Vulcan Society.
Coombs continued: “Our commissioner, if I do recall, said not long ago he’d never been exposed to or witnessed racism or racist practices in the Fire Department in his 40 years. Well, that lends to a question, I wonder where young Cassano got such thinking from?”
He added: “This in no way is an isolated incident. It’s not limited to one or several people, it is a practice that has taken place for all too long.”
Coombs said EMT’s are known to get priority when applying to the FDNY, regardless of any family ties.
“So it wasn’t limited to chief’s sons, but it became a back door for them, so to speak,” he said.
Vulcan Society President Emeritus Paul Washington said there is no place for such attitudes in a profession that is dedicated to emergency response and saving lives.
“We can’t have these attitudes going into people’s houses, whether it’s for a life-or-death situation or even something more mundane,” he said.
Joseph Cassano apologized for the tweets and issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
“From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly sorry and I apologize for my offensive remarks. My intention was never to hurt anyone, or any group, and these tasteless comments do not reflect the person my parents raised me to be. Working for the FDNY requires that you conduct yourself in a dignified manner, reflecting the highest standards of the Department and accepting the incredible responsibility to the City of New York. I clearly did not do that and I take full responsibility for my comments.
“I know my actions have hurt and disappointed many people, especially my family. I would like to move forward, learn from my mistakes and continue to grow as a person with the support of my family, friends and loved ones.”
His fire commissioner father also released a statement.
“I am extremely disappointed in the comments posted online by my son Joseph, which do not reflect the values – including a respect for all people – that are held by me, my family and the FDNY,” Salvatore Cassano said.
“I have worked hard for many years, as have so many people in the agency, to make the FDNY more diverse and inclusive. There is no place — and I have no tolerance — for statements that would harm the good reputation we enjoy due to our honorable service to all New Yorkers. As a parent, this is very painful for me, but I believe my son has made the right decision. I love him very much and, with the support and love of our entire family, we will get through this together,” Cassano said.
Cassano’s Twitter account has been deactivated, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
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