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    Default Ain't This Somethin'?

    Firehouse incident with noose was a hoax
    Firefighter admits placing rope, note
    By Justin Fenton

    Sun reporter

    December 2, 2007







    A firefighter who reported finding a knotted rope and a threatening note with a drawing of a noose in an East Baltimore station house last month had placed the items there himself, city officials said yesterday.

    The man was suspended last week for performance-related issues and will likely face additional punishment, fire officials said. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said the man admitted to the hoax and will not face criminal charges.

    Officials identified the firefighter who they say acknowledged writing the note as Donald Maynard, a firefighter-paramedic apprentice who is black. Maynard could not be reached for comment.

    The rope incident sparked outrage two weeks ago and prompted a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations. It was the latest in a series of incidents that have cast the Fire Department in a poor light over the past year, including the death of a recruit in a training exercise and accusations of racism.

    The news of the hoax came a day after a report released by the city's inspector general found that the top performers on two recent Fire Department promotions exams likely cheated amid lapses in testing security.

    A black firefighters group had called accusations of cheating racially motivated after union officials questioned the test scores. But the investigation found that five African-American firefighters had studied by using a 2001 exam, which is against test protocol.

    On Nov. 21, a handwritten note and a rope were discovered about 1:30 a.m. by two Fire Department employees - one black and one white. It read, "We cant [sic] hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures. NO EMT-I, NO JOB." A small stick figure with a noose and the word "Stop" were drawn below the message.

    The note appeared to refer to the cheating investigation and a push by top fire officials to compel emergency medical technicians to become certified as paramedics. Maynard was among those whose jobs were at risk.

    In a written statement yesterday, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. said Maynard had admitted to "conducting a scheme meant to create the perception that members within our department were acting in a discriminatory and unprofessional manner."

    "If the department upon investigation found Mr. Maynard's alleged claims to be factual, I would have acted swiftly and severely," said Goodwin, who said last month he would step down at the end of the year. "I will do the same thing regarding Mr. Maynard's unfortunate act of misconduct."

    Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said that Maynard's punishment had not been determined but that he could be fired.

    Clifford, the spokesman for Dixon, said she was "pleased to find out that, in fact, there wasn't a threat of that nature made at the firehouse." He said the mayor is disappointed in the firefighter.

    "It's a terrible thing to be worried that firefighters are treating each other that way, and it's good to know they're not," he said.

    Yesterday, the leaders of the two city fire unions denounced Dixon, whose initial reaction to the reported incident was to deplore what she called "an act of hatred and intimidation."

    Stephan G. Fugate, head of the city fire officers union, said Dixon's reaction contributed to racial tensions. He said members of the community became hostile toward firefighters after the mayor "came out and, in effect, said racism is running rampant."

    Union leaders also criticized the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Vulcan Blazers, a group that represents black firefighters, saying they, too, provoked racial tension by rushing to judgment.

    "To put it mildly, this time we're not going to let it go," said Fugate. "The reaction from the NAACP, the mayor and the Vulcan Blazers was sickening, and we're going to demand an apology."

    But Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham, president of the NAACP's Baltimore chapter, said the fact that such an incident could occur shows that pervasive racial problems persist in the department.

    "It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department," Cheatham said when asked to respond to the unions.

    Henry Burris, president of the Vulcan Blazers, when informed that the incident was a hoax, said, "I'm extremely upset, as well as hurt. I believed the person who told me [that the incident was legitimate] was telling the truth."

    Fugate said Maynard had been with the department for about six years. The union leader said that that is well beyond the time for an apprentice to have advanced to a more skilled classification.

    Because most of the calls for service in the city are medical calls, the department now hires only paramedics who are trained to provide a higher level of care. Goodwin had said that those who had not gained their paramedic certification were "on the bubble" in regard to keeping their jobs.

    The racial incident at the Herman Williams Jr. fire station at East 25th Street and Kirk Avenue was the second this year. In May, firefighters at the station came under scrutiny for an incident involving a deer head that had been decorated with an Afro wig and gold chains. Allegations of racism proved to be unfounded.

    It has been a tumultuous year for the Fire Department. In February, recruit Racheal M. Wilson died in a training exercise that was found to have violated dozens of national safety hazards. The department was also the subject of an internal investigation for an off-the-books purchasing account that circumvented city requirements.

    Racial issues have also simmered. In 2004, the department was pressed to revamp its testing and recruiting practices after criticism of an all-white recruit class.

    Imagine that!
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    And if a white Firefighter placed the items there...The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of their camp would respond to condemn...

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    "It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department," Cheatham said when asked to respond to the unions.
    Just WTF is that suppose to mean? How about condemning the worthless MUTT and apalogize to the public whom he mislead and riled up and to the Firefighter's for placing them in danger of attack by citizen's. The worthless *** should be fired and have to compensate the city for the investigation.
















    Yeah, like that'll happen.

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    The point is that you don't see those two idiots rallying outside the station because it wasn't a white guy that did it. The act was the same, why aren't they parading around condemning the individual who did it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    But Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham, president of the NAACP's Baltimore chapter, said the fact that such an incident could occur shows that pervasive racial problems persist in the department.
    SAY WHAT??? Ok sure, I've had a drink or three but WTF? How on God's green earth ... oh never mind. I know you all know where I'm going with this .... ummmm HELLO Marvin, "such an incident" DIDN'T occur, so your statement makes absolutely no sense at all! Nice spin, buddy.

    "It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department," Cheatham said when asked to respond to the unions.
    Repeat above. OK no, I actually have something more to add to this one. WHY WHY WHY (a la Nancy Kerrigan) do you idiots try to put the blame on someone OTHER than the person it rightly belongs with, no matter what his/her color, creed, sexual preference, momma, papa, sister, dog, religion, kindergarten teacher, ex girl/boyfriend, cub scout leader and/or which way he/she votes? Blame anyone but the person responsible. Nice spin, where do you get this *****, Marvin?

    *Gives a flick to her head* oh of course, silly me. This is the fureacking world we live in now.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    The rope incident sparked outrage two weeks ago and prompted a federal investigation into possible civil rights violations
    "If the department upon investigation found Mr. Maynard's alleged claims to be factual, I would have acted swiftly and severely," said Goodwin, who said last month he would step down at the end of the year. "I will do the same thing regarding Mr. Maynard's unfortunate act of misconduct."
    So it is a civil rights violation if it was initially thought to have been done by a white firefighter but an act of misconduct because it was in fact done by a black firefighter.

    Forgive me but I don't remember the section of criminal law that states it depends on your race as to whether or not an act is a possible civil rights violation or merely an act of misconduct.

    What about the civil rights of the white firefighters who were alleged to have put it there? I can already see the lawyers lining up for this one.

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    How does anyone take the NAACP or the Vulcan Blazers seriously when they make statements like the ones above?

    It isn't a surprise though...we had a similar incident, although the city found a much more creative way around exposing the "victim" as the perp.

    The investigators claimed that their inquiry revealed that..."anyone" in that firehouse on that day could have planted the noose...and dropped the investigation promptly afterwords. Just so happens that "anyone" included the "victim" so you do the math.

    Just another example of people who thrive on being perpetual victims and expecting to be owed something. I wonder if he will be charged with filing a false report and hate crimes?

    As it turns out this is becoming an all to common occurance...noose found...rallies and protests against racism ensue...perp is found to be minority and then it is promptly forgotten by the liberal press or the perp is lauded for bringing the topic of racism to the front and into daily discussions! Creating victims where none exist...simply amazing!

    FTM-PTB

    Fake noose...$3.20 for rope at Hardware store
    Endless TV coverage over civil rights rallies....$32,000
    Keeping the likes of the Al $harpton in business for years...priceless!
    Last edited by FFFRED; 12-03-2007 at 09:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    How does anyone take the NAACP or the Vulcan Blazers seriously when they make statements like the ones above?

    It isn't a surprise though...we had a similar incident, although the city found a much more creative way around exposing the "victim" as the perp.

    The investigators claimed that their inquiry revealed that..."anyone" in that firehouse on that day could have planted the noose...and dropped the investigation promptly afterwords. Just so happens that "anyone" included the "victim" so you do the math.

    Just another example of people who thrive on being perpetual victims and expecting to be owed something. I wonder if he will be charged with filing a false report and hate crimes?

    As it turns out this is becoming an all to common occurance...noose found...rallies and protests against racism ensue...perp is found to be minority and then it is promptly forgotten by the liberal press or the perp is lauded for bringing the topic of racism to the front and into daily discussions! Creating victims where none exist...simply amazing!

    FTM-PTB

    Fake noose...$3.20 for rope at Hardware store
    Endless TV coverage over civil rights rallies....$32,000
    Keeping the likes of the Al $harpton in business for years...priceless!
    You're right, of course. But the false report thing may be a problem. I'm not sure how NY law reads, but in jurisdictions I am familiar with, the only way you can be charged with a felony for a false report is if you specifically implicate another person. I'm not sure that happened here.

    Al must be hurtin' these days. He has cranked up the ol' Tawana Brawley machine. Must be like a Reunion Tour.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I acknowldege absolutely that 99.9999% of the BFD guys are above reproach. But this stuff sure indicates that Baltimore sure has some issues.

    Baltimore Firefighters Cheated on Exams

    ............

    Sumathi Reddy
    The Baltimore Sun



    The top performers on two recent Baltimore Fire Department promotion exams likely cheated amid lapses in testing security, including a dozing monitor, according to the findings of a city investigation released yesterday.

    The report, by the city's inspector general, recommends that the implicated firefighters be disciplined and that the June 2 test be given again.

    Though the firefighters did not admit to cheating, the investigation found that at least five had a 2001 exam that they studied from, which is against test protocol. The test included numerous questions identical to those on the 2001 test.

    When questioned, the firefighters' "responses were deceptive and indirect and some bordered on being unprofessional," the report said.

    The five firefighters were not identified in the report, except by race. All were African-American. The racially charged controversy erupted in June when union officials questioned the scores of the African-American firefighters, leading a black firefighters group to call the suspicions "racially motivated."

    Mayor Sheila Dixon said she was disappointed that the firefighters likely cheated and expects the Fire Department to take "strong action" with regard to disciplinary measures.

    "The report clearly shows that the test was compromised," Dixon said yesterday. "Both the Fire Department and the Department of Human Resources have some work to do to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again."

    Dixon said she has requested that both departments have recommendations for retesting to her within seven days:

    "What it does is everyone who passed the test is now in the situation where they'll end up having to possibly retake the test."

    The report comes at the end of a year of turmoil in the city's Fire Department, which began with a fatal training accident that was found to have violated dozens of national safety standards. The department was also the subject of an internal investigation for an off-the-books account that was used to purchase fire equipment, circumventing the city's purchasing requirements.

    Last month, Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. - acknowledging the distraction of the controversy surrounding the death of the fire cadet - announced that he will resign at the end of the year.

    Yesterday, Fire Department officials said they would review the investigative report before deciding whether everyone should retake the test and what disciplinary actions should be taken against those who are believed to have cheated.

    Chief Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman, said disciplinary action, which could include suspension or termination, will be up to the fire chief.

    "If the investigation proves that there was very credible evidence that there was some unethical behavior by our members, some type of disciplinary action will taken, absolutely," said Cartwright. "No one will just get off with a verbal reprimand."

    The report included a probability study comparing the test-takers' answer sheets with their previous scores and each others'.

    The report said a test monitor slept on duty during the exam, enabling more than one firefighter to go to the men's bathroom and use his cell phone, a violation of security procedures. The report also found that a test monitor admitted that numerous personnel might have had access to the tests before the examination was given.

    More than 300 firefighters took one of two promotional exams June 2 - one for those seeking promotion to lieutenant, another for lieutenants seeking promotion to captain.

    The exams are given once every two years. They are the sole deciding factor by which firefighters rise through the ranks. The results are especially critical because the captain and lieutenant positions, which come with higher salaries and pension, only rarely become available.

    Though the allegations of cheating had raised questions of racism, the investigation found evidence that problems with the test extended beyond the initial five African-American firefighters and included at least eight firefighters of different races.

    According to a statistical and probability review of the captain's test conducted by Dr. John D. Bruno, an independent expert, there were two pairs of firefighters who appeared to have cheated on the test, based on similar answers.

    One pair had unusually high scores, especially compared with previous tests they had taken, leading Bruno to conclude that at least one had advance knowledge of the test answers. The other pair had relatively low scores, likely the result of one test-taker copying from the other.

    Additionally, another exam-taker had suspicious scores, but information beyond test data would be needed to prove cheating, the report concluded.

    Similarly, on the lieutenant's exam, Bruno found two pairs of firefighters he concluded cheated.

    One pair had suspiciously high scores compared with tests they had taken previously, leading him to conclude that at least one had advance knowledge of the answers. He concluded that the others copied from each other.

    Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for Dixon, said problems with the test clearly did not break along racial lines. "Nearly everything about the administration of this test left something to be desired," he said.

    The report also points to a sixth firefighter who admitted glancing at a fellow firefighter's answer sheet during the test, who officials said was white.

    Yesterday, two of the union leaders who had called for an investigation pointed to the findings as proof that race was not an issue.

    "I thought it was irresponsible for them to say that in the first place," said Richard G. Schluderberg, president of Baltimore Fire Fighters Local 734, one of the groups that called for the investigation. "It's not a race issue. If you cheated and you're white, you cheated. If you cheated and you're black, you cheated."

    Stephan G. Fugate, the president of the fire officers union, said the unfortunate part of the investigation is that all the firefighters who scored well based on studying hard will likely have to take the tests again.

    "Now all these people who are truly innocent in the whole affair, they're going to be compelled to go back to the books and dedicate another year of their life to studying with the hope of doing as well as they did last time," said Fugate.

    He said that problems with the testing go beyond the implicated firefighters and that he believes the city's Department of Human Resources, which administers the exam on behalf of the department, played a role.

    Gladys B. Gaskins, director of the city's Human Resources Department, did not respond to calls for comment yesterday.

    Fugate said he doesn't think the firefighters involved in the incident will be dismissed.

    "Race permeates everything that happens here in our department," he said. "Like it or not, that will be a consideration in what happens."

    In 2004, the department was criticized for hiring an all-white recruit class and was pressed to change its testing and recruiting practices.

    The department, city police and the FBI are also reviewing an incident last month with racial overtones, in which a note and rope were found in an East Baltimore firehouse.

    The note seemed to refer to the cheating scandal.

    It read: "We cant [sic] hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures. NO EMT-I, NO JOB." A small stick figure with a noose and the word "Stop" were drawn below the message.

    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    It's been a whole 2 months since the whole "Jena 6" thing and Al and Jesse haven't had much to get in the news about.

    The amazing thing is that the whole ruckass in Jena wasn't a race issue and really wasn't viewed by the local community ... whitye and black .. as a racial issue. Unfortunatly the media "forgot" to report several key incidents in the whole chain of events that made it seem racial.

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