What to Know
- Investigators say one of the supervisors is accused of encouraging and helping subordinates draw lewd pictures on the photos.
Nearly a year and a half after a black Miami firefighter found a noose hanging over a picture of his family ruined by lewd drawings, those allegedly involved in the incident were formally be charged in the case.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday the results of their investigation into the September 2017 incident inside Fire Station No. 12.
A total of six firefighters, including two supervisors, were fired two months after the incident. Four of them were charged Tuesday with criminal mischief.
None of the men - Cpt. William Bryson, Lt. Alejandro Sese, Kevin Meizoso, Justin Rumbaugh, David Rivera and Harold Santana - admitted to placing the noose and all denied the allegations at the time of their terminations. Bryson and Rivera are not facing charges.
"In the Miami Fire Department, we hold honor, integrity and respect for our fellow firefighters in the highest regard," fire chief Joseph Zahralban said during the announcement of their terminations. "If you do not believe in this philosophy, I promise you will struggle in our organization."
Officials found out about an incident "involving sexually explicit and racially offensive conduct" and transferred employees to other stations. After the police department began an internal investigation, 11 firefighters were suspended without pay.
Investigators say one of the supervisors is accused of encouraging and helping subordinates draw lewd pictures on the photos.
Sese's attorney, Pablo Tamayo, said Sese had no involvement or knowledge that a noose was placed on the photo.
"Mr. Sese finds such a racist act reprehensible, and condemns anyone who could have done such a thing. From the onset, Mr. Sese has fully cooperated with the City of Miami’s investigations and has been nothing but open and truthful," Tamayo said in a statement. "Mr. Sese is not a racist and all of those who have known him throughout his life know that any statement to the contrary is simply false."