The son of Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano resigned from his job this week after a series of racially inflammatory comments he
Joseph Cassano, 23, joined the department as an emergency medical technician in October 2012. He quickly came under fire for posts that suggested a hatred for Jews, Blacks and poor people.
According to news reports, Cassano
Cassano complained that he hated working at the Emergency Medical Service and was “sick of picking up all these Obama-lovers and taking them to the hospital.”
The Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY, pointed to the reports as an indication of larger issues within the department. “Mr. Cassano was right to step down. If anyone at the FDNY doesn’t like serving New York’s diverse population, there are thousands of qualified minority candidates who would be happy to do so,” said Vulcan Society President John Coombs.
On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. birthday, Cassano posted, “MLK could go kick rocks for all I care, but thanks for the time and a half today.”
“Unfortunately, this is just one more episode in the long history of racism within the FDNY,” said Capt. Paul Washington, former Vulcan president and FDNY employee who filed the original Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint about the department’s racial discrimination. A federal judge found that the FDNY’s written examination violated civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution.
“One must wonder where Joseph Cassano, who apparently lives with his father, developed these shameful attitudes. Given that people of color have been largely excluded from the FDNY for decades, it’s easy to understand that these types of attitudes are pervasive throughout the FDNY,” Washington added.