Protest over noose punishment

May 7, 2009 4:45:00 PM PDT
Tempers are still flaring over a noose found in a Houston Fire Department captain's locker room. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It was a story we first told you about in March. Community activists are not happy with the punishment handed out and now they're calling on the mayor to get involved.

In front of a small, but appreciative crowd, community activist Deric Mohammed gave an emotion filled speech. He implored city leaders to remove a fire department captain after another firefighter saw what looked like a noose inside his locker three months ago.

"We're asking you to use your strong mayoral power and the sense of justice you say you represent, to intervene in this affair and remove captain redneck," Muhammed asked.

Muhammed and other community leaders say they came out because they believe the punishment, a written reprimand, wasn't harsh enough. Mayor Bill White has a different view.

"There was discipline, there was an investigation, we have done a much better job of having the senior leadership of the fire department and fire union reflect the workforce of this city," Mayor White told us.

The fire department issued a similar statement:

"There has been an investigation of this event by the department and the employee involved received disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand. Punishment is based on the facts of the individual case."

But members of the Houston Black Firefighters Association points out that a cadet was fired last year for having a noose and they feel that the captain is getting off easy.

"Justice and punishment should be equal," Alvin James with the HBFA said. "If you fire a cadet for doing something like that, punishment should be done to that captain, you can't show any favoritism."

The fire department tells us they are looking into the punishment.

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