Photo: Getty
  /  08.15.2022

Jerrod Jones, a Black firefighter in the Rochester Fire Department, says that his fire captain once forced him and other firefighters to attend a Juneteenth-themed party that made a mockery of the culture, HuffPost reports.

At this time, the 14-year veteran of the city’s fire department is seeking damages in the amount of $4 million. He alleges that Captain Jeffrey Krywy took him and three other firefighters to the private event during their shifts last month.

According to reports, Jones and other fire crew members were still in uniform upon arriving to the home where the party was held. He noted that it was located in “one of the city’s most affluent communities.”

Jones also revealed feeling “immediately uneasy” when he saw a cutout of former President Donald Trump as he was entering the home.

Aside from that, the firefighter says inside the party he saw two large Juneteenth flags, KFC buckets of chicken, as well as a woman impersonating Democratic county legislator Rachel Barnhart in a way that was “mocking but sexual.”

Furthermore, Jones revealed that photos of local Democratic politicians were spotted “on stakes” throughout the property of the home. He also says that a fellow firefighter who was in attendance with him said, “We shouldn’t be here, this is bulls**t.”

Per the claims, Jones was appalled by the racism at the event, and even recalled a department policy banning attendance of partisan political events.

During the party, he told other firefighters that he felt as though he were in the Jordan Peele film Get Out. It wasn’t until later that he realized one party guest included someone who he believes “was a senior member” of the Rochester Police Department.

Out of fear of retaliation, Jones took a leave of absence from work, citing that he is still suffering from emotional distress.

“It cut me very deeply; I’m sorry I even have to be here today, said Jones. “But as terribly as I’m feeling, I’m glad it happened to me and not someone who could be easily intimidated.” 

At this time, Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez has called Jones’ accusations “unacceptable and an affront to everyone who works with the [Rochester Fire Department] and in City Hall.”

 

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