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Milwaukee firefighters face disciplinary charges after brown figurine found hanging in station

The brown figurine hanging on a bulletin in a Milwaukee fire station.
The brown figurine hanging on a bulletin in a Milwaukee fire station.(Milwaukee Fire Department)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WMTV) - A dozen members of the Milwaukee Fire Department are facing departmental charges after a brown figurine was found hanging in a fire station in February.

Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing said at a press conference Thursday that internal discipline charges will be made against the firefighter who initially found and hung the figurine at the station. The same charges will also be made against 11 other members of the fire department, including a deputy chief, battalion chief and a captain, WITI reports.

During the press conference, Rohlfing said that an internal investigation concluded that the hanging of the brown figurine was not intentionally racist.

"The investigation findings did not reveal a deliberate or intentional sexist or racist intent, nor an effort to target an individual member or group," Rohlfing said.

"We strongly believe that hanging the figurine was inappropriate and wrong," adds Rohlfing.

Back in February, a firefighter says he found the figurine with a pink ribbon around its neck in the street. The firefighter then brought it back to Fire Station 2 and hung it on a kitchen bulletin board.

Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing
Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing(Milwaukee Fire Department)

Chief Rohlfing would not say what disciplinary action is appropriate in this case. But there will be changes department-wide, anti-harassment training and the distribution of an internally produced educational video.

“The matter that is the most upsetting and disheartening was the failure of our officers assigned to Station 2 to collectively maintain and reinforce an environment and culture within the station where an incident like this would be instantly stopped or questioned,” Rohlfing said during the press conference.

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