A Houston-area civil rights organization spoke out Monday after racial allegations by a Latino firefighter surfaced last week.
The firefighter who made the allegations has been transferred to Station 45 at his request. The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice said he was not the only one who has been targeted The group said it has a list of dozens of firefighters who have experienced the same harassment but are afraid to come forward.
"Clean up the intolerance of the Fire Department and racism and whatever occurred within the Fire Department," said Johnny Mata with the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice.
The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice wants an investigation launched immediately.
KPRC Local 2 was the first to report the story after veteran Latino firefighter Joseph Salcido reportedly found a photo of his jacket and gear hanging by a noose inside his Station 42 firehouse.
He said a sign was also made saying, "Learn your (expletive) job, Mexican. You should be glad you're not in Arizona."
The allegation came two days after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirmed a "hostile work environment" within the Houston Fire Department regarding racist and sexist graffiti at Fire Station 54.
"The fact is that we've been disturbed for years of a continuation of racism and sexism in the Fire Department. I think this last incident is what broke the camel's back," Mata said.
The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice said it plans to meet with the EEOC along with the community in a town hall meeting.
The Houston Fire Department released the following statement.
"We take any allegation of racial harassment very seriously. This matter has been under investigation by the OIG and it is my understanding that the investigation is near completion. Nothing further can be said until the investigation is complete," city attorney David Feldman said.
The firefighters' union said it wants people to come to a safe environment free of harassment, but it's not fair to link this most recent allegation to other department issues.
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