Nine firefighters employed by the FDNY have been suspended without pay following a departmental investigation into alleged racist messages shared between the firefighters that mocked George Floyd's death.
The messages shared between firefighters allegedly boast about officers' ability to "legally shoot Black children" and if using fire hoses on protestors would work, because "wild animals like water."
The New York Times reported on the suspensions -- which range from a few days to six months -- and details of the messages shared between firefighters last year. A fire department spokesperson told the paper that the punishments were some of the most severe in the FDNY's history.
Black firefighters took their complaints to the FDNY after catching wind of the racist messages and memes shared through phones, according to the report.
“When these memes were reported we investigated in and the suspensions were the result,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long told The New York Post. Long said the suspensions hit firefighters who posted the messages as well as employees in supervisory roles.
The city's fire department, which largely avoided protests in the last year, is now attracting new criticism over racism among its ranks.
The staffing within the FDNY, according to data obtained by the Times, is mostly made up of white employees. Of the roughly 11,000 firefighters in the department, city data show roughly 75% are white.