Classmates Speak Out About Detroit Firefighter Who Was Fired Over Watermelon
Black Firefighters Say They Support Fired Colleague
Detroit, Michigan – A group of Detroit firefighters showed support for another firefighter who was fired for bringing a watermelon into work as a gift. Ten black firefighters posed for a group photo with Robert Pattinson, and it was was posted on Facebook by one of the black firefighters.
Tadarius Spearman posted the photo Oct. 10 on his Facebook account, according to Fox 2 Detroit TV.
Spearman wrote, “Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” Spearman said in his Facebook post. “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.”
Fire Commissioner Eric Jones had fired Pattinson, who is 41 years old and white, after he brought the watermelon to his new post at Engine 55.
“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,” Jones wrote in a statement to the TV station.
“After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.”
Pattinson also had overwhelming support on the Fox 2 Detroit Facebook page.
“I’m black and I didn’t see anything wrong with him bringing a [watermelon] to the job,” a Tanesha Michelle Hill posted. “Some people blow the smallest thing up for no reason. Give that man his job back. He have my support 100%.”
“This brother is a really good person,” said a LaVaughn DeAngelo Williams on the Fox 2 Facebook page. “There was no malice in his intent. He is a health nut, who believes that everyone should take care of their bodies and nourishment. I would only suggest getting to know him before throwing out a comment with no basis of knowledge of the individual. We are proud of him, and he is a brother to us regardless of color.”