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[Detroit Firefighter Robert Pattison Fired For Racial Insensitivity After Bringing In A Watermelon]
A firefighter new to the job makes a major faux pas while getting to know his new colleagues.
What he says was a gesture of goodwill was not received that way at all. Fox 2’s Tayrn Asher will get to now explain why some people were so offended. Tayrn?
Tayrn Asher: Source: LYBIO.net
Well Robert Pattinson had just completed the firefighter training academy. He was said to work at Detroit’s Engine 55. He says he brought a watermelon with a pink bow to introduce himself to the crew as a nice gesture. But it certainly wasn’t taken that way.
Fired before he officially started, last Monday 41-year-old Robert Pattinson went to introduce himself to his fellow firefighters at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield in Detroit. Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty calls it a tradition for firefighters.
2ND BATTALION CHIEF SHAWN MCCARTY DETROIT FIRE DEPT.
It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary. You come in, you bring gifts – you might bring some nuts. The usual gift is doughnuts, okay. But you are allowed to bring in whatever you want to bring in.
And Pattison, a probationary firefighter, decided to bring this watermelon with a pink ribbon on top. We’re told some African-American firefighters were instantly offended, since 90% of the people who work at Engine 55 are black.
When you get your first detail at a firehouse, you know pretty much what you are getting yourself into. So you would have to say you know – it was probably a bad call.
Is it racially insensitive to bring a watermelon into a fire house?
Robert Pattision: Source: LYBIO.net
You have to speak to some people.
I spoke to Pattision by phone who claims it was not a joke and he did not mean to offend his fellow firefighters. But he clearly did.
Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says the Fenton native was officially discharged.
In a statement Jones says:
“There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department.” On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department.
After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.
In a world where racial tensions run high, some tell me the trial firefighter should have known better. Trout doesn’t know if he meant anything by it – but feels it was a bad choice.
Oh for sure by far – by far it was.
The question is did DFD over react? Should he have lost his job over a watermelon?
I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
Between what he did and losing his job, there were a few things that could have been done.
Battalion Chief McCarty goes on to say although a group inside the fire house wanted Pattison fired, many others wanted him to be able to stay, so they could educate him about why it was offensive and really continue this discussion, Huel.
So Tayrn how is the union responding to that?
Well union President, Mike Nevin says that the union feels the administration dealt with the employee in what they determine to be in the best interest of the department. So it sounds as if they supported the move.
Detroit Firefighter Robert Pattison Fired For Racial Insensitivity After Bringing In A Watermelon. Should he have lost his job over a watermelon? Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.