Freeport firefighter suspended over Facebook post about Antwon Rose protests |
Valley News Dispatch

Freeport firefighter suspended over Facebook post about Antwon Rose protests

Chuck Biedka
Chuck Biedka | Tribune Review
Freeport's engine awaits calls at its station.

A Freeport volunteer firefighter has been suspended for using a racial slur on his Facebook page to describe people protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose.

Christopher James Negley’s comments came to the attention of the department June 21. The department announced his suspension via the department’s Facebook page two days later.

“The views expressed in a member’s private post earlier today do not represent the views of the department, or its members. A full detailed investigation is being conducted at this time.” department officials posted on their Facebook page.

Negley could not be reached for comment. He has been a member of the department for about two years.

His post used a racial slur to refer to protesters calling for charges against Michael Rosfeld, the East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Rose on June 19. Rosfeld was charged with homicide Wednesday.

“The trustees and officers of Freeport VFD after deliberating have suspended Christopher Negley indefinitely until the investigation can be completed. We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter,” the department said.

Fire officials spoke about the matter at the borough council meeting Monday.

Fire Chief Steve Warheit said the matter unfortunately involved the department in a personal matter for Negley.

“We are indirectly involved,” he said. “And, by no means do we condone” what Negley is accused of writing, Warheit said Tuesday.

Negley is part of a growing list of firefighters in hot water over alleged racist Facebook posts since Rose’s death.

The Mt. Pleasant Borough Volunteer Fire Department said it will decide on July 19 whether to suspend one of its members, Brian Vought, over his social media comments threatening to harm those blocking the Homestead Grays Bridge during one of the protests.

Also, a Norvelt fire captain has been suspended for making an “inappropriate and disrespectful” Facebook comment about the Antwon Rose protests, officials said.

The captain, Martin Linden, called the controversy over his Facebook post “a big misunderstanding.”

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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