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Chicago Firefighter Fired Over Racist Social Media Posts; City Worker Reprimanded For Bringing Gun To O'Hare

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago firefighter-EMT has been fired, after a watchdog investigation into a series of racist, offensive, and threatening posts on Facebook.

Meantime, the city's inspector general also recommended another city worker be fired for bringing a gun to O'Hare International Airport, despite not having a valid Firearm Owner's Identification card, due to past criminal convictions, but instead that employee was only reprimanded.

The latest quarterly report from Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, published on his last day in office on Friday, revealed a Chicago Fire Department firefighter-EMT "made multiple racist and offensive comments in posts on their own Facebook page and on a Facebook post made by a member of the public, in violation of City of Chicago Personnel Rules and CFD General Orders."

According to the inspector general's office, the firefighter commented several times on another person's Facebook post, mocking that person's mother's parenting skills, assuming the person and other commenters receive welfare benefits, and suggesting one commenter take their "ass back over the border."

The firefighter's Facebook profile picture, showing them and their child in CFD paraphernalia, appeared next to each comment.

The firefighter's own profile page, which was publicly available and included information on their employment with CFD, also revealed multiple racist posts directed at Blacks, Asians, and other minorities.

Those posts included stereotypes of Black people as criminals, and using terms such as "animals" and "hoodrat." The firefighter also insulted an Asian reporter, calling her a fake name and "writing in a mocking imitation dialect," according to the inspector general's office.

"Further, the firefighter-EMT seemingly issued praise for violence––advocating for shooting an individual in Kenosha and posting a cartoon depicting a driver hitting protesters with a car," the report stated.

The inspector general's office also determined the firefighter let others use their page to spread racist content.

The inspector general's office recommended the firefighter be terminated and placed on the city's "do not hire" list. According to the report, the CFD agreed with that recommendation, and the firefighter has filed a grievance over their termination.

In another investigation, the inspector general's office recommended the city fire a Department of Assets, Information, and Services (AIS) fleet service assistance who brought a loaded gun to O'Hare, and tried to get it through a Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint in carry-on luggage to board a flight to New York.

According to the report, that worker was also carrying an empty badge wallet, and a pair of handcuffs in their backpack.

That city worker did not have a valid Firearm Owner's Identification card or a Concealed Carry License, due to prior criminal convictions, so was not legally allowed to carry or possess firearms or ammunition in Illinois.

The inspector general's office said that worker managed to purchase the parts needed to assemble a firearm, rather than buy one directly.

The worker was arrested at the O'Hare security checkpoint, and later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempting to board an aircraft with a weapon. The worker was sentenced to two years of probation, according to the inspector general's report.

The inspector general's office recommended the AIS employee be fired and placed on the city's "do not hire" list, but the department instead reprimanded the worker, saying the Law Department advised them it is illegal to discipline a city worker for a crime committed off-duty unless the department can articulate a substantial connection between the crime and their job, or can show that continued employment "would create an unreasonable risk to [the] safety of persons or property."

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