Ga. Firefighter's Tweet Draws National Attention, Controversy

June 13, 2013
An Augusta firefighter questioned the citizenship of a young girl who was singing the national anthem at the NBA finals, saying she looked like an 'illegal immigrant.'

June 13--An Augusta firefighter's tweet questioning the citizenship of an 11-year-old singing the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio on Tuesday gained national attention -- and controversy -- after it was picked up by news Web sites and blogs.

"How you signing the anthem lookin like an illegal immigrant," tweeted Andre Lacey, who appeared to have since deleted his twitter account, @AndreLacey.

An Augusta firefighter since 2007, Lacey wasn't working at Fire Engine Co. 5 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard mid-Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Fire Chief Chris James said the department was aware of the tweet and taking a look at its options.

"I don't think he was on duty," James said. "If he was at home, as despicable as that comment that he made is ... I don't think the actual tweet itself had anything to do with the fire department."

Regardless, the firefighter "will be counseled for sure," James said. "What he said by no means is reflective of our attitude. It's completely inappropriate and not acceptable."

The department continues to attempt to address social media issues as they arise but has no official policy.

James said some firefighters have voluntarily deleted their Facebook accounts after unrelated conversations have grown heated.

Copyright 2013 - The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

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