Broward County

Noose found hanging over a black firefighter’s chair and now four recruits are out

One firefighter recruit has been fired and three others resigned because of a noose found hanging over a black firefighter’s seat, Pompano Beach fire officials say.
One firefighter recruit has been fired and three others resigned because of a noose found hanging over a black firefighter’s seat, Pompano Beach fire officials say.

A Pompano Beach firefighter recruit was fired and three others resigned after an investigation into a noose that was hung over a black recruit’s seat on their final day of training, authorities said.

The investigation, which started on July 26, followed an incident the previous month in which members of the department’s fire recruit class were each told to complete a cleanup task at the Pompano Beach Fire Training Center, the Sun Sentinel reported. When recruit Vilbert Green, the only African-American member in the class of six, returned to his seat, he found a noose draped over his chair next to his nametag, the paper reported.

Green took a photo and showed it to a firefighter outside the recruit class, who then took it to a captain after other recruits would not admit what had happened.

All the recruits in the class except Green were suspended amid the investigation, which ended Wednesday.

“It represents hatred, it represents death to African Americans, and we won't tolerate that here,” Pompano Beach Fire Chief John Jurgle told Local 10. “This department is too good. This city is too good. This community is too good to put up with that.”

Matthew Reilly, the recruit who was fired, and two of the recruits who resigned –– Kerop Berberian and Geandy Perez – declined to comment to the Sun Sentinel. Austin Sovay told the paper that the rope “wasn’t a noose... It was a fishing knot.”

  Comments