Rochester Fire Dept. captain retires after firefighter complaint over party that mocked Juneteenth
The City of Rochester said that a fire department captain accused of pushing a Black firefighter to attend a private party mocking the Juneteenth holiday has retired.
According to a statement released on Tuesday by Mayor Malik Evans, Captain Jeffrey Krywy chose to leave the fire department voluntarily after he was told on Friday that the results of an internal investigation into the incident would result in his firing.
Last week firefighter Jerrod Jones said he and some other firefighters were brought to the party on East Avenue by Krywy in July while they were on duty.
Jones said the party brazenly ridiculed Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, by perpetuating racist stereotypes of Black people. For example, he said that a bucket of fried chicken placed next to a Juneteenth flag.
Jones, who says he is suffering from emotional distress, filed a notice of claim that he intends to sue the city for $4 million.
While at another event on Tuesday, Mayor Evans said that his administration is working to create a culture to ensure something like this will not happen again in the fire department or any other city department.
“One of the things that we know is that no organization is perfect. These problems didn't just appear in last eight months, they probably have been going on for a long time,” said Evans. “So we want to make sure that we transform all of our city departments, including the fire department, to make sure that people understand that bigotry and that of behavior, it will not be tolerated in the city.”
Evans said that the city will continue with its internal investigation to answer questions about what other city employees may have been at that party on East Avenue.
Monroe County legislator Rachel Barnhart was also mocked at that Juneteenth party, and on Tuesday said she felt the written statement issued by Evans lacked details about just how City Hall is handling the situation.
“First of all, what did their investigation find,? Said Barnhart. “Second, what other first responders, city employees, public employees, were at this party? And finally, what are the next steps in order to evaluate how this even happened?”
Nate McMurray, the attorney representing Jones in his lawsuit against the city, said on Twitter that he wants to see an independent investigation into what happened and “concrete changes to guarantee it can never happen again.”
Evans said Tuesday that the city will soon put out a 'request for proposals' to look at the culture in the fire department for training and other issues.