Fire captain's on-line Martin comment investigated
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A high-ranking Miami-Dade firefighter is feeling the heat after posting his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Brian Beckmann launched an R-rated rant on his Facebook page, Wednesday night. The post bashed special prosecutor Angela Corey and what he perceives as bias against George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting 17-year-old Martin. He then used racially charged language to take aim at African-American parents and teens.
The comment reads in part: "I and my co-workers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, [expletive], ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents. "
At Miami-Dade Fire Headquarters, Walter Clark, a former county employee, showed up to ask the director to fire him. "No, he has to be fired now," Clark said. "This public servant has no place in rescuing black people. His attitude is beyond anything that I can imagine for a public servant, to be putting it in writing."
Beckmann posted the comments Wednesday, the same night Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Martin. Martin, who lived in the Miami area, was visiting his father in the small city of Sanford, located in Central Florida. He was taking a late night walk in the rain on Feb. 26 after buying a snack at a store when he was shot by Zimmerman, who has claimed self-defense.
The prosecutor has said Martin was profiled by Zimmerman, who acted as a neighborhood watch member. "[Martin] was profiled by George Zimmerman," the State Prosecutor stated in an affidavit. "Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime."
On Monday night, Ronald Fulton, Martin's uncle, lashed out at the post by Beckmann. "Those remarks were totally uncalled for. They were unjustified. First off, Trayvon Martin was not a thug. He was not a gang member," said Fulton via phone interview. "A lot of people wouldn't want him [Beckmann] on their block, let alone coming to their house talking about helping them."
Beckmann's rant first appeared on a website geared toward African-American issues. Beckmann told the website, "I am a private citizen and I have the same right to freely express an opinion on any subject that anyone else does. I chose not to embellish or alter the facts as your employees chose to do so."
Though the post appeared on his private Facebook page, and it was not an official statement, Clark said he still wants to see Beckmann fired. "Once you're a public servant, especially in public safety where you're saving lives, you're on-duty 24-7," Clark said. "You're never off-duty."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue released a statement that read in part: "Captain Brian Beckmann has been with Miami-Dade County since 1997. The post on his personal Facebook page is being investigated by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue."
For Clark not an apology, suspension or demotion are good enough. "He works for us," he said, "so we're the employer, so I say, fire Beckmann. Fire Beckmann now."
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