FDNY Commissioner Says Taunting Firefighters Tarnished Department's Reputation

March 11, 2024
Pro-Trump firefighters booed and heckled New York Attorney General Letitia James at a promotion ceremony last week.

Thomas Tracy, Elizabeth Keogh

New York Daily News


FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh apologized Sunday for booing and taunts state Attorney General Letitia James received from pro-Trump members of the crowd at a recent promotion ceremony.

Speaking at the same church where that event was held, Kavanagh addressed the Thursday incident, which has prompted an FDNY probe.

“On behalf of the New York City Fire Department, I’m sorry,” the commissioner said Sunday at the Christian Cultural Center in Starrett City, Brooklyn. “Not only is the Fire Department the greatest department in the world, it’s also the most professional fire department in the world and we let down that reputation on Thursday.”

At last week’s ceremony, members of the crowd booed as James took the stage for the swearing in of 34 civilian employees and 29 members of the Bureau of Fire Prevention — including the Rev. Pamela Holmes, the FDNY’s first Black female chaplain.

At one point during James’ remarks, members of the crowd consisting of FDNY personnel and their families broke out in chants of, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

Moments after the ceremony, FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens reached out to all field members to express his displeasure and concerns of what happened at the promotion ceremony. The department launched an investigation soon after.

“Nobody is hunting anyone down. We’re looking into those who clearly broke department regulations,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long said in a statement. “It has nothing to do with politics. It’s about professionalism at an official event held in a house of worship.”

The heckling came weeks after a judge slapped Donald Trump with massive fines at the end of his Manhattan fraud prosecution by James’ office. The former president lashed out at the AG throughout the trial.

FDNY chiefs plan to visit the firehouses where members were promoted and speak with them about the behavior at the church, according to sources.

The church has made charitable donations to the FDNY, Kavanagh said Sunday.

“We have a very long and special relationship with this church,” she remarked. “We know a very small number of people lost their way and forgot their mission and we are as mad as you are at those people.


“We have decades of training and discipline that none of us want to see tarnished by the unprofessional behavior of a few,” Kavanagh added.

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