KANSAS CITY, Mo. – People are calling for a Missouri firefighter-in-training to be fired from the department after he allegedly placed a rope around the neck of another cadet, reportedly symbolizing a noose.
KC EFFECT is a local chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters. The organization released a letter Wednesday that described the alleged incident that happened nearly a month ago. EFFECT said the incident happened in front of other cadets and staff during a training exercise.
The organization claimed the cadet said it was “a joke,” and staff addressed the situation by reviewing its equal employment opportunity policy.
This month, the Kansas City Fire Department issued a new equal employment opportunity policy. The biggest policy change includes adding additional reporting options for supervisors and clearer channels to report violations without needing to go through the EEO Commission.
Addington Stewart, Midwest Chapter President of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, said the policy change is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough.
“When you are talking about placing a noose around someones neck in 2019, it should not be happening. It is unacceptable, and anyone who does it should be disciplined harshly,” Stewart said.
A spokesperson for the Kansas City Fire Department released the following statement:
“While we cannot comment about specific personnel issues or investigations, it’s important to note that the City of Kansas City and KC Fire strive to provide a workplace that values everyone, of every background. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of city employees or by city employees, and it will not be tolerated in the workplace.
“The city provides diversity and harassment training and retraining every 2-3 years. In the most recent round of training 90% of Fire Department employees completed that training session. This training includes all full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract employees. New employees go through this same training course as part of their orientation when they are brought on-board.”
Investigation into the incident is expected to wrap up in the next week or two.