YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A comment on Facebook could cost a firefighter his job.
The social media post is racially charged and raising a lot of eyebrows.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the Yonkers firefighter posted the offensive comment last week, and it was met with swift reaction.
“I don’t like it at all. I don’t even want to talk about it,” resident James Barbour said.
It’s a jaw-dropper: A photo of a black man and a gorilla, identified as father and son, and a headline that makes reference to the fire department’s diversity recruitment.
“I think the piece that really is important is that he included his job in that comment. Not good,” resident Janet Pagani said.
Mayor Mike Spano says he wants the man, Richard LaPeruta, fired. He says he’s angry and the man should be ashamed of himself.
For the record, though, neither he, the fire commissioner, nor the firefighters’ union will comment on camera, calling this “a personnel matter,” Young reported.
“Maybe he should be suspended. Fired is a little much,” resident Basilio Cipolla said.
“They should suspend him for a little time, and then he will learn that things are not the way he sees it,” Anna Jagger added.
So far, that’s what’s happened — a suspension.
The firefighter lives in Yonkers with his wife, but he wasn’t home when CBS2 stopped by to get his comment.
Of the 437 positions in the fire department, only 31 members identify themselves as African American. The department is trying hard to diversify, but as Young reported, old attitudes die hard.
“Firing is only going to result in him having more resentment,” resident Richie Jones said. “I’d rather him go through some training, maybe some interactions with people of other cultures, and learn.”