Protesters denounce Confederate flag display on Brookhaven fire truck; 2 members resign
Protesters came out to voice their displeasure and disgust of the Brookhaven Fire Department following the display of a Confederate flag on a district-owned truck.
The fire district's Board of Commissioners says it joined in condemning those responsible's actions, and that after they were immediately suspended, they resigned Wednesday.
The release denotes that two people ended up resigning in relation to the act. Chief Peter DiPinto Jr. had said earlier in the week, "The incident involved a sole firefighter, acting alone, during a nonresponse event ... the unauthorized action was done without the knowledge of our leadership team and is condemned in the strongest of terms."
The flag was displayed at a drive-by parade for a firefighter who is battling cancer.
A photo of the truck had been shared many times online, prompting the department to post an apology on its Facebook page, and many officials to denounce the behavior, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Protesters in Brookhaven came out to decry the flag display, and specifically took aim at the department commissioner.
"Where were the adults in the room? How did that truck leave this firehouse - travel down to Patchogue? If I had been there I would have stepped in to the street and I would have ripped the flag right off the truck," says Mary Marshall.
Members of the department gave protesters a prepared statement, but did not address them directly. The fire commissioner said "of course" when asked if he condemns the use of the Confederate flag.
"That's not enough because he should have done something on day one. He should have told us on day one what happened," says Stanley Sneed.
In the board's Wednesday release, it said, "There is not place for racism of any kind in the fire service and the board will not tolerate such behavior. There is no excuse."
The board also says it will work with the Suffolk Human Rights Commission and Brookhaven NAACP in expanding anti-bias training and expanding recruitment of people of color.