Chicago Fire Department probes alleged removal of Black Lives Matter banner
The Chicago Fire Department is investigating the alleged removal of a Black Lives Matter banner by someone in a firetruck, department officials said.
A post on Nextdoor — a social network for neighborhoods — by Dr. Adele Cobbs claims the banner in Kenwood near Lake Shore Drive was removed early Saturday by someone who hopped out of Firetruck 15, which belongs to Station 45 in nearby Bronzeville, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“They literally obstructed traffic to do this,” Cobbs wrote in her post, which included a photo showing the firetruck. “Unbelievable. They are paid to serve our community and this is what they think about Black lives.”
Cobbs alleged two white men took down the banner, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Cobbs told the Tribune Sunday she saw one of the men removing the banner from a fence just before 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I’ve seen that banner,” Cobbs told the newspaper. “It’s in a discreet place that was bothering no one.”
Cobbs, who pulled over and parked in front of the truck as it stopped along a two-way street, said she was at a loss when she witnessed the banner being taken down.
“I stuck up my arms and said, ‘Why?’” Cobbs said.
But all she got in return was an aggressive honk of the firetruck’s horn, she said.
Cobbs, a longtime emergency medicine physician, said she felt the need to report what she saw due to her medical background and the potential detrimental impact on other first responders.
“The fact that they would do something so petty and so disgraceful,” Cobbs said. “Why would they take that little piece away?”
A Chicago Fire Department spokesman confirmed an investigation had been launched into Cobbs’ report, but declined to indicate what penalties personnel may face for removing the BLM banner, the Tribune reports.
“The conduct described in the allegation will not be tolerated by the Chicago Fire Department,” spokesman Larry Langford said in a statement. “We have no tolerance for any conduct that demeans any of our residents and visitors, all of whom we have taken a sworn oath to serve. I assure you we will rapidly get to the bottom of this and if found to be accurate, discipline and corrective action will be swift and just.”
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