Union votes in support of 6 dismissed Miami firefighters accused of hateful vandalism

MIAMI (WSVN) - Six firefighters accused of hanging a noose over a black co-worker’s family photos and drawing sexually explicit drawings on them will be allowed to go forward in contesting their firings, after a tense union meeting ended with a vote in their favor, Tuesday night.

The firefighters – Capt. William Bryson, Lt. Alejandro Sese, Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbaugh, David Rivera and Harold Santana – had reached out to their union to try and get their jobs back.

Their legal counsel confirmed the outcome of the heated union meeting to 7News. The accused firefighters declined to comment

Officials said City of Miami Fire Lt. Robert Webster was the victim of hateful vandalism while on the job at Miami Fire Station No. 12., back in September.

Webster spoke with 7News about the matter earlier on Tuesday. “What I would like is for the decision that was made by the city manager, by the mayor and by our department director to stand,” he said.

Webster also pointed out he has not received an apology from any of the accused firefighters. “These individuals have not even apologized for what they’ve done,” he said.

The firefighters are accused of drawing mean-spirited symbols on pictures of Webster’s family and leaving a noose in his office.

Initially, 11 firefighters were suspended. “I was disgusted and I was appalled by what I had seen,” said Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban during a news conference in early November, some time after the six firefighters had been terminated.

The Professional Black Firefighters Association and the NAACP were also present at Tuesday’s meeting, urging the union to step away from this situation and let the city’s decision stand.

“We want them to know that we don’t tolerate this type of behavior,” said Capt. Jackson Deglace of the Black Firefighters Association.

“We also want the union to realize that this isn’t just an internal situation,” said NAACP spokesperson Brad Brown. “This is something that the community is concerned about.”

Lt. Freddy Delgado, president of the firefighters union, released a statement that read, “The Executive Board’s meeting today reviewed the testimony and evidence related to the termination of the six Miami Firefighter’s for the drawings on a co-worker’s family photographs. After long, arduous deliberation, and after consultation with our legal counsel, the Executive Board has taken the position of allowing the terminated individuals their due process.”

Webster had earlier told 7News that if the meeting went into the accused firefighters’ favor, the union will not receive another dime from him.

“I can’t do it and neither would any of you: pay for the defense of someone who has offended your family, offended the neighborhood and the community you grew up in,” said Webster.

Union members considered each firing separately.

Webster did not comment after the vote.

7News has learned an independent organization will now help decide what happens next.

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