NEW YORK — The FDNY suspended nine firefighters without pay in connection with a string of racist messages and memes they shared on their phones, including ones that mocked the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
A spokesperson called the suspensions the most severe punishments ever handed down in the history of the fire department. The suspensions ranged from a few days to six months and were the result of complaints by several Black firefighters.
Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the department has embraced diversity initiatives and is working to become more inclusive.
According to the FDNY, 8.2% of firefighters are Black, 13.4% of firefighters are Hispanic, 2% of firefighters are Asian, and 128 women serve as firefighters.
The FDNY is about 75% white/male — down from 93% more than a decade ago. The diversity hiring took place between 2014 and the present, according to the FDNY. There was a hiring freeze from 2009 to 2014.
This change has all happened since 2014 – present, there was no hiring of FFs from 2009-2014.