Detroit Firefighter Booted for Bringing Watermelon with Pink Ribbon to Station

Detroit Firefighter Booted for Bringing Watermelon with Pink Ribbon to Station”

However, according to Fox2Detroit, the gift did not go off well at the fire station as about 90 percent of the people working there are black.

Local Fox 2 reports that 41-year-old Robert Pattison added a pink bow to his watermelon gift, making some feel that he was making a racist joke. Some firefighters said they were instantly offended by this due to a prevalent stereotype linking African-Americans with watermelons.

Pattison said he didn't intend for the watermelon to be offensive, but the fire commissioner disagreed in a statement to WJBK-TV.

Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty told Fox 2 that the gift was not mandatory, but is a tradition among new firefighters.

Last week Jones released a statement to FOX 2 saying there was zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department.

A probationary firefighter in Detroit was sacked after bringing a watermelon to the firehouse as an introductory present, WJBK-TV reports.

However, the fire department decided after an investigation into the incident that the best action was to fire Pattison.

"Between what he did and what was there are a few things that could have been done", he said.

"Just want to let everyone know he's a real incredible dude and it was all good intentions", firefighter Tadarius Spearman wrote on a social media post. "And our entire class [is] supporting him in this".

Not long after his dismissal, Pattison received a big show of support from a number of black firefighters at Engine 55, according to WJBK.

But after several African-American firefighters complained, station bosses fired Pattison for "unsatisfactory work behavior".

Since his dismissal, a petition to reinstate Pattinson has gotten about 1,500 signatures. "Stay up brother. #DFD".

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