Brookhaven FD Confederate flag controversy sheds light on use of names used by other departments
The state has launched an investigation into the Brookhaven Fire Department after a photo of a firetruck displaying a Confederate flag went viral.
The firetruck at the center of the photo was part of a parade in Patchogue for a firefighter who is battling cancer.
The fire department condemned the display and said in a statement that the firefighter who did it did so without authorization. The town supervisor, County Executive Steve Bellone and many others issued comments condemning the flag's use.
"It is considered to be widely a symbol of hate around the world, and around the country, and it needs to stop," says Georgette Grier-Key, of the Brookhaven NAACP.
The incident also led some to look at other Long Island fire departments' use of questionable symbols. The Levittown Fire Department's Drill Team is called the Rebels, and on the Firefighting Drill Association of New York's web page, the team uses a Civil War cartoon as its profile picture.
In photos online, the team has used the Confederate flag on its race cars for decades.
News 12 reached out to the Levittown Fire Department, but it has not yet commented on the matter.
Bay Shore's drill team, the Redskins, is also under scrutiny, with some saying the name and images it uses are offensive. The drill team has used that name since 1926.
Chief Jerry Rockfeld says he wants to preserve history, but adds that "it's worth having a discussion" about the name.