YONKERS – The promotion of a Yonkers firefighter who was disciplined two years in the past for making a racist submit on Fb angered a number of elected officers and group leaders.
Richard LaPeruta was one of many firefighters whom Mayor Mike Spano promoted to lieutenant on Thursday, regardless of LePeruta’s 2017 suspension for posting a racist photograph and touch upon Fb which urged that black individuals are apes.
Spano’s workplace issued a press launch on Wednesday about six firefighters being bumped up, however LaPeruta’s title wasn’t included.
DISCIPLINED: ‘Racist’ Fb submit will get Yonkers firefighter suspended
A Yonkers fireplace engine. (Photograph: Matt Spillane/The Journal Information)
Metropolis Councilwoman Shanae Williams mentioned his promotion got here as a shock. She mentioned LaPeruta’s title was added Thursday earlier than the ceremony, and she or he was made conscious of the promotion by the the Yonkers Vulcans, a company of black firefighters.
“This is sort of a slap within the face,” Williams mentioned. “Elsewhere, he would’ve been fired on the spot. However not in Yonkers, not within the good ol’ boys membership … How do I do know he’ll put his neck on the market for individuals he sees as apes?”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano mentioned LaPeruta “willingly” accepted a 75-day suspension with out pay as a result of his actions and has been denied promotion for the final two years.
“He has expressed his regret many occasions for the reason that incident and has written a letter of apology to be shared with the group. I consider his apology is real and am keen to permit him to maneuver ahead in a Fireplace Division that grows extra various with each passing 12 months,” Spano mentioned in an electronic mail.
“As a lifetime member of the NAACP, nobody respects the variety of Yonkers greater than I do, and we’ve vastly elevated the variety of minority members of the hearth division,” the mayor mentioned in an announcement. “It now stands at practically 30%, which is nearly double what it was after I grew to become mayor. We’ll proceed to enhance much more going ahead.”
LaPeruta additionally penned an apology letter to the group.
Firefighter Richard LaPeruta, who was suspended in 2017 for making a racist submit on Fb, was promoted to lieutenant. That is his apology letter to the group. (Photograph: Metropolis of Yonkers)
“My lapse in judgement that day doesn’t personify who I’m,” LePeruta mentioned in his letter. “As a 25-year veteran of the division, I respect a chance to point out my true good nature and dedication to all the individuals of Yonkers.
“There are a lot of younger individuals of coloration in Yonkers who’re keen to affix the hearth division. I remorse that my actions could have made them consider they’d be unwelcome,” LaPeruta wrote in his letter. “That is not the best way my fellow firefighters really feel, and it isn’t the best way I really feel both.”
Councilwoman Williams was joined by The United Black Clergy of Westchester; the Yonkers chapter of the NAACP; elected officers on the native, county and state stage; in addition to group leaders in entrance of Metropolis Corridor to denounce the promotion.
“The United Black Clergy of Westchester and the NAACP – Yonkers Department and the complete African American group is outraged and believes LaPeruta ought to have been terminated, not promoted. Additional actions will likely be taken by the NAACP-Yonkers Department as results of this promotion,” the officers and leaders mentioned in an announcement.
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