The fire commissioner issued an official statement saying that Pattison had been fired.
“There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department,” the commissioner said in a statement, calling the presentation of the watermelon “unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department.”
Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty said the gesture was offensive to some people, but he didn’t think the recruit should have lost his job over it.
“Between what he did and losing his job, there are a few things that could have been done,” McCarty said. He said that some of the firefighters wanted him to be reinstated to inspire conversation about why the watermelon was seen as offensive by some of the African-Americans.
“Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” he wrote. “And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans, and that’s all that needs to be said. Stay up brother. #DFD.”
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