Melbourne officials are investigating a complaint of religious discrimination from a Melbourne firefighter who said the department leader took no action after a supervisor was filmed doing a Nazi salute while on duty. We are
Firefighter Aaron Starkey filed a complaint dated April 12 with the Florida Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which said the agencies had failed to address his “legitimate anti-Semitic concerns,” and the photo A colleague who had been photographed allowed him to confront him about the complaint. .
In his complaint, Starkey said battalion commander Jody Kahler saluted with a fake “Hitler-style mustache” and what appeared to be a metal bowl, which Starkey called a “German combat helmet.” was photographed wearing a hat on his head. Koehler was on duty and wore the uniform of the Melbourne Fire Department.
“I am Jewish and found Curler’s gesture very offensive,” Starkey wrote.
A request for an interview with Curler sent through a city spokesperson was denied by Melbourne Fire Chief Mike Bogle, citing the city’s aggressive investigation.
According to the complaint, Mr. Koehler confronted Mr. Starkey on April 8 “to discourage him from filing further complaints” after reporting the photos to the Melbourne firefighters union. Although he admitted to pretending, he attempted to downplay and trivialize his actions and did not apologize for his actions,” he wrote.
It wasn’t clear from the complaint when the photo was taken. Daniel Perez, an Orlando attorney who represents Starkey, said the photo was taken by one of Starkey’s colleagues and was circulated “just like a joke” among staff in the department.
“I can’t imagine anything interesting about it,” he added.
Starkey blamed union officials for not filing a complaint on his behalf and for passing the words of his complaint on to Koehler, which he said led to a confrontation. He charged the department with failing to act on the photos and allowing a follow-up case he deemed “retaliation.”
Starkey relayed the question to Perez. A message sent to the Melbourne Professional Firefighters Local His Union in 1951 was not immediately returned on Monday.
City of Melbourne spokeswoman Cheryl Mall said in a statement that the city learned of the allegations through a Starkey complaint it received from the state late Friday afternoon.
“The City of Melbourne takes allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation of any kind very seriously,” Mall said in a statement.
“When conducting a formal investigation, there is established due process that must be followed to ensure the legal rights of all parties involved,” the statement said. “After the investigation is complete, any employee found to be in violation of city policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.”
Perez said the episode was just the latest in a list of complaints his clients filed with the department. He claimed he was denied and said the department did not reimburse him for the training he needed in 2020.
As a result of the complaint, Starkey said the department retaliated by transferring him multiple times and denying him promotions.
The incident in the photo was little more than “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Perez said.
“Imagine you’re African-American and your boss finds out that you wear blackface at work, and that’s how I conceptualize this,” Perez said. “In 2023, there will be no such place at work.”
A white firefighter from the Brevard County Fire and Rescue Service was fired last February after photos of him with a black face at an off-duty Halloween party went viral on social media.
Eric Rogers is a watchdog reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Rogers at 321-242-3717 or email@example.com.
http://rssfeeds.floridatoday.com/~/737177912/0/brevard/news~Extremely-offensive-Melbourne-investigating-photo-of-firefighter-giving-Nazi-salute/ Anti-Semitic allegations after photo of Melbourne firefighters doing Nazi salute