City council cites code in reason to expel firefighters
SAUK RAPIDS, Minnesota – The St. Cloud Times reports that two Sauk Rapids volunteer have been dismissed from the department after posting what the city council called “troubling comments” on social media about the protests following the in-custody death of George Floyd’s in Minneapolis.
The Times stated that the city council had adopted a code of conduct to provide a safe environment for employees and citizens. The code prohibits “violent, threatening, harassing, intimidating or other disruptive behavior.”
BringMeTheNews Minnesota reported on the exact comments the two firefighters posted.
Both were made in reference to the tanker driver driving towards a protestors blocking Highway 35W in St. Paul on Sunday causing several to run to avoid being struck by the vehicle.
One firefighter shared a memo a semi-trailer with blood spattered on the hood, not the actual vehicle that was involved in the incident, with the saying: “Just drove through Minneapolis. Didn’t see any protesters.”
The other firefighter made comments on a thread, “The best thing would be to get the truck driver out and blow up the tanker kill all those worthless people,” and “Not them gotta drop a few with some bullets. Then I guarantee they think twice about looting and destroying stuff.”
Sauk officials released a statement, signed by Mayor Kurt Hunstiger, City Administrator Ross Olson, Fire Chief Jason Fleming and Police Chief Perry Beise, stating, “The comments in no way reflect the position of the City of Sauk Rapids, its fire department, city staff or the City Council and are contrary to the core values and mission of the City and the Sauk Rapids Fire Department.”
Even though the fire department is organized as a volunteer department, firefighters receive on-call pay.