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Shocker: Firehouse ‘Noose’ Left By Black

From the Baltimore Sun:

FPA Donald Maynard left a noose and a racially charged note at Baltimore City’s firehouse.

Firehouse incident with noose was a hoax

Firefighter admits placing rope, note

By Justin Fenton

December 2, 2007

A firefighter who reported finding a knotted rope and a threatening note with a drawing of a noose in an East Baltimore station house last month had placed the items there himself, city officials said yesterday.

The man was suspended last week for performance-related issues and will likely face additional punishment, fire officials said. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said the man admitted to the hoax and will not face criminal charges.

Officials identified the firefighter who they say acknowledged writing the note as Donald Maynard, a firefighter-paramedic apprentice who is black. Maynard could not be reached for comment.

The rope incident sparked outrage two weeks ago and prompted a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations. It was the latest in a series of incidents that have cast the Fire Department in a poor light over the past year, including the death of a recruit in a training exercise and accusations of racism.

The news of the hoax came a day after a report released by the city’s inspector general found that the top performers on two recent Fire Department promotions exams likely cheated amid lapses in testing security.

A black firefighters group had called accusations of cheating racially motivated after union officials questioned the test scores. But the investigation found that five African-American firefighters had studied by using a 2001 exam, which is against test protocol.

On Nov. 21, a handwritten note and a rope were discovered about 1:30 a.m. by two Fire Department employees – one black and one white. It read, “We cant [sic] hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures. NO EMT-I, NO JOB.” A small stick figure with a noose and the word “Stop” were drawn below the message.

The note appeared to refer to the cheating investigation and a push by top fire officials to compel emergency medical technicians to become certified as paramedics. Maynard was among those whose jobs were at risk.

In a written statement yesterday, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. said Maynard had admitted to “conducting a scheme meant to create the perception that members within our department were acting in a discriminatory and unprofessional manner.”

“If the department upon investigation found Mr. Maynard’s alleged claims to be factual, I would have acted swiftly and severely,” said Goodwin, who said last month he would step down at the end of the year. “I will do the same thing regarding Mr. Maynard’s unfortunate act of misconduct.”

Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said that Maynard’s punishment had not been determined but that he could be fired.

Clifford, the spokesman for Dixon, said she was “pleased to find out that, in fact, there wasn’t a threat of that nature made at the firehouse.” He said the mayor is disappointed in the firefighter.

“It’s a terrible thing to be worried that firefighters are treating each other that way, and it’s good to know they’re not,” he said.

Yesterday, the leaders of the two city fire unions denounced Dixon, whose initial reaction to the reported incident was to deplore what she called “an act of hatred and intimidation.”

Stephan G. Fugate, head of the city fire officers union, said Dixon’s reaction contributed to racial tensions. He said members of the community became hostile toward firefighters after the mayor “came out and, in effect, said racism is running rampant.”

Union leaders also criticized the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Vulcan Blazers, a group that represents black firefighters, saying they, too, provoked racial tension by rushing to judgment.

“To put it mildly, this time we’re not going to let it go,” said Fugate. “The reaction from the NAACP, the mayor and the Vulcan Blazers was sickening, and we’re going to demand an apology.”

But Marvin L. “Doc” Cheatham, president of the NAACP’s Baltimore chapter, said the fact that such an incident could occur shows that pervasive racial problems persist in the department.

“It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department,” Cheatham said when asked to respond to the unions.

Henry Burris, president of the Vulcan Blazers, when informed that the incident was a hoax, said, “I’m extremely upset, as well as hurt. I believed the person who told me [that the incident was legitimate] was telling the truth.”

Fugate said Maynard had been with the department for about six years. The union leader said that that is well beyond the time for an apprentice to have advanced to a more skilled classification.

Because most of the calls for service in the city are medical calls, the department now hires only paramedics who are trained to provide a higher level of care. Goodwin had said that those who had not gained their paramedic certification were “on the bubble” in regard to keeping their jobs.

The racial incident at the Herman Williams Jr. fire station at East 25th Street and Kirk Avenue was the second this year. In May, firefighters at the station came under scrutiny for an incident involving a deer head that had been decorated with an Afro wig and gold chains. Allegations of racism proved to be unfounded.

It has been a tumultuous year for the Fire Department. In February, recruit Racheal M. Wilson died in a training exercise that was found to have violated dozens of national safety hazards. The department was also the subject of an internal investigation for an off-the-books purchasing account that circumvented city requirements

Apparently this genius didn’t even know how to tie a noose. So he had to draw one — as a serving suggestion. (Though it is cut off in the photo.)

So it very easy to believe he could not pass his job required examination.

Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said the man admitted to the hoax and will not face criminal charges.

Why not? Look at all that was promised if the perpetrator had turned out to be white.

Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said that Maynard’s punishment had not been determined but that he could be fired.

“Could be fired”? Again, imagine what would have happened if the perpetrator had been white.

But Marvin L. “Doc” Cheatham, president of the NAACP’s Baltimore chapter, said the fact that such an incident could occur shows that pervasive racial problems persist in the department.

Mr. Cheatham is surely right, but not in the way he meant it. Racism is running rampant there. In a city where whites are a minority, no less.

The racial incident at the Herman Williams Jr. fire station at East 25th Street and Kirk Avenue was the second this year. In May, firefighters at the station came under scrutiny for an incident involving a deer head that had been decorated with an Afro wig and gold chains. Allegations of racism proved to be unfounded.

Translation: this too was done by blacks.

But shouldn’t the sentence read: “[this false charge of a] racial incident at the Herman Williams Jr. fire station at East 25th Street and Kirk Avenue was the second this year”?

Just for fun, compare this calm and complacent article with the hysteria of the initial report of this alleged outrage from the local CBS affiliate WJZ:


Noose Found At Fire Station

Nov 22, 2007

Gigi Barnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) ― There’s outrage from civil rights leaders to the mayor’s office over a disturbing discovery.  For the second time this year, racially insensitive materials were left behind at a city firehouse. [Meaning the deer head, which turned out not to be a hate crime either.]

Gigi Barnett has more on this latest case.

Fire officials say a noose and a racially charged note were left at the firehouse by a fellow firefighter.  Police tell Eyewitness News they are investigating this as a possible hate crime.

Pictures obtained by Eyewitness News show the noose attached to a note and left in a Baltimore City firehouse in the early morning hours.

The note reads, “We can’t hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures.”  Now some in the department are demanding it be investigated as a hate crime.

“I think it’s a symptom of a larger disease of racism in the Baltimore City Fire Department,” said Vulcan Blazers president Henry Burris.

The note goes on to read “No EMT-I, no job,” a reference, some believe, to an investigation into whether some firefighters cheated on promotional exams over the summer.

When asked how certain he was that a fellow firefighter left the noose, Chief William Goodwin responded, “About as certain as we are that when you hear the siren, somebody in our department’s blowing it.”

NAACP President “Doc” Cheatham is demanding city leaders neutralize what he calls a “culture of racism” within the department.

“We’re saying mayor, president of City Council, councilmembers, you need to get busy on this issue, because after we finish with this, if they don’t do something, we’re coming at them next,” he said.

Just days before the incident at this firehouse, a report was issued by the NAACP, recounting what it calls a surge in the number of racially motivated hate crimes.

A FBI crime log reveals a similar trend.  According to figures released this week, the number of hate crimes nationwide is up eight percent to more than 7,700 in 2006.  Here in Maryland, there were 212 hate crimes last year, compared with 195 the year before.  

The Justice Department is actively investigating a number of noose incidents around the country, including one left in a tree at the University of Maryland back in September.

“There are some deep-seated racial problems and they need to be addressed,” Burris said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the mayor called the incident a “deplorable act of hatred and intimidation” that will not be tolerated by city employees.

All lies. Damnable lies.

Told by professional racists.

Speaking of which, so far despite an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the New York Police Department of the noose found on the door of a teacher of racism at Columbia University there have been no leads.

I wonder why.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, December 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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