NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s more controversy surrounding race at the New Haven Fire Department after a well-known captain allegedly made disparaging remarks towards an African American firefighter. This comes after News 8 was the first to report on the suspension of a lieutenant for a racist post made through his Facebook page.
Capt. Frank Ricci allegedly called Firefight Aaron Brantley a “lazy, black piece of s***.” The alleged comments were made to an attorney who represents the Fire Department Union.
“Raises red flags,” said Capt. Gary Tinney, who is a also a member of the New Haven Firebirds, a minority organization of firefighters. “We’re very concerned about that.”
Union members voted to conduct an independent investigation into the comments that were allegedly made. Ricci was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the department that made national headlines when it went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2009.
“At the union meeting, we had vote to put him under investigation for racial slurs,” said Firebird President William Augustine. “(A) unanimous decision, everybody voted.”
Ricci refused to go on camera, but told News 8 that the comments are not true and are completely unfounded. Ricci is second-in-command in the Union.
The Union president does not believe Ricci’s story. When asked, President Jimmy Kottage said that he believes Frank did in fact make the disparaging remarks. He said he was told directly by Union Attorney Patty Confrancesco, immediately after the alleged incident happened.
Everyone News 8 spoke to at the department wants the bad blood to just go away. Kottage wants to air out all dirty laundry this week so they can start to rebuild and bring the morale back up within the department.