The Boston firefighter who posted a cartoon image of a muscular Black man carrying the severed head of a white man, has been terminated. Octavius Rowe, a 15 year veteran, was fired on April 30, 2018 following an investigation that began last October. Here is a copy of the cartoon, titled “Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion.”
The department’s investigation also looked at other posts by Rowe, including some that were reportedly anti-Semitic and others that were anti-LGBTQ.
The Boston Globe reached out to Rowe by phone, and quoted him as saying:
- The [disciplinary] process is absolutely flawed.
- There is long and, I would say, storied battle with extreme, disparate disciplinary practices within the Boston Fire Department.
- And my case is just the latest in that line.
The Globe quoted Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh as saying:
- I have spent my career fighting for the most vulnerable, their safety and their rights.
- Boston is a better city because of our diversity and everyone regardless of who they love, what they believe in, or where they are from, deserves to feel welcome here.
- I am saddened that an employee of the Boston Fire Department has not only shown a disagreement with those values, but is promoting violence against our LGBTQ community.
- This is unacceptable as a public employee and especially as a public safety official, and I will not allow this kind of hate in our city.
Rowe’s attorney, Robert Johnson, sent the Globe an email stating his client has already:
- “filed a complaint alleging lack of just cause in his termination.
- In addition, he will file a charge of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination where he will allege race discrimination and retaliation.
- Finally, he believes that the City of Boston and it’s fire department violated His First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.
- We plan to pursue vindication of his rights to the fullest extent of the law.”