Black Firefighters Support White Colleague Fired Over Watermelon Controversy
October 11th, 2017, 7:32 AM
Rookie fireman Robert Pattinson was fired after bringing a watermelon last month to his new post at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield as a gift from a new colleague.
New firefighters usually bring donuts, but Pattinson, 41, brought a watermelon with a pink ribbon. He was fired earlier this month after some firefighters said they were offended by what they saw as a racial jab. He told Fox 2 it was not meant as a joke and never intended to offend anyone.
Now, African-American firefighters are sticking up for Pattinson, who is white.
On Tuesday, firefighter Tadarius Spearman stuck up for Pattinson on social media and included a group photo of him with other African-American firefighters, Fox 2 reports.
"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."
Last week, Fire Commissioner Eric Jones released a statement to FOX 2 about Pattinson:
"On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) 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."