If this isn’t a blast from the past. A New York City firefighter claims that his boss wanted to turn water hoses on protesters in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May 2020. For refusing to do so, the firefighter—who is Black—says he was suspended from his job, reassigned to another post, and lost pay during this forced time off. In turn, the firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, the FDNY commissioner, as well as other department officials.
Omar Wilks, a 13-year veteran with the FDNY, says the department retaliated against him for not turning the hoses on demonstrators—a tactic reminiscent of the abuse shown toward protesters during the civil-rights movement in the 1960s. The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, alleges that Wilks’ supervisors tried to “inhibit his speech” and “worked collectively to manufacture false claims against” him. Wilks also claims in the lawsuit that the FDYN discriminated against Black firefighters, and there was a lack of diversity in higher positions. He was suspended from the job for 30 days.