Philadelphia Fire Company Suspended Over Alleged Racist Remarks About Black Firefighters and Black Girl Who Was Fatally Shot by Police

Philadelphia Fire Company Suspended Over Alleged Racist Remarks About Black Firefighters and Black Girl Who Was Fatally Shot by Police

A fire company in Philadelphia has been suspended after some of its members used racist remarks to mock a Black girl who was fatally shot by police.

Volunteers at the Briarcliffe Volunteer Fire Company have been suspended for 30 days after they were accused of making racist comments during a virtual call and mocking the police-killing of an 8-year-old Black girl. The incident is now being reviewed by the city’s district attorney’s office, Yahoo! News reports.

The little girl they were allegedly mocking was Fanta Bility, who was killed last August after two teenagers – Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16, and Hasein Strand, 18 – started shooting at one another outside the Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill following a verbal altercation, Yahoo! News reports. When police responded, three officers fired at a moving car as people were leaving a football game. Fanta, her sister and three others were shot.

On Jan. 27, Briarcliffe workers and firefighters and another volunteer fire team – Goodwill Fire Company – came together for a meeting. After the meeting, six Briarcliffe squad members stayed on the call for another two hours after others had left. During their conversation, the volunteers allegedly used racist language and slurs to describe the other firefighters and fire chief from another company, Yahoo! News reports. One of them mentioned they were planning to relocate from their neighborhood because more Black people were moving near them. Another volunteer made a joke about Fanta’s name.

In response to the alleged incident, a letter from the Darby Township Board of Commissioners was sent out on Wednesday. “We have great concerns of this as fire companies, and the safety of the community,” reads the letter. “This is not appropriate and does not belong in the township.”

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