A firefighter was fired after he brought a watermelon into his 90-percent black fire station in Detroit as a welcome gift.
Fox2Detroit reports Robert Pattison brought a watermelon wrapped in a pink ribbon for his fellow Engine 55 firefighters as a gift to introduce himself.
Speaking to Fox 2, Pattison said the watermelon was not a joke and he did not mean to cause offense.
However, since Pattison was a probationary employee, he was fired.
Fire Commissioner Eric Jones issued a statement saying there is “zero tolerance” for this kind of racial discrimination.
There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department. 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.
Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty, however, called bringing in food a tradition.
“It's not mandatory, it's voluntary," he explained. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.”
McCarty also said he does not believe Pattison should have been fired.
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