A veteran captain with the Frenchtown Charter Township Fire Department is the subject of an internal investigation for a social media post in which he appears to reference violence in relation to the 2020 General Election.
A post originating on Facebook showcasing businesses in urban areas boarding up windows in preparation of potential violence ahead of vote tabulations garnered a comment from Capt. David McFadden.
As various people questioned why businesses would take such action, McFadden posted a comment implying violence would act as a deterrent to potential demonstrators.
“A 12 gauge and OO buck shot is a whole lot cheaper,” McFadden wrote.
Several Monroe County residents shared the post on social media channels, decrying its implications and criticizing an apparent endorsement of gun violence.
One such resident reported the incident to the department, precipitating an ongoing investigation that may result in disciplinary action, according to Fire Chief Wendy Stevens. She said the department in no way condones any form of violence as a means to addressing issues or discourse.
Stevens received screenshots of the post that was made from McFadden’s personal account, which identifies him as an employee of the department.
Personnel are subject to rules and regulations that outline that comments both public and private that can be construed as harassment, hurtful or in poor taste are against department policy, according to Stevens.
“The department has a very strict policy regarding social media,” Stevens said. “… We can’t allow (employees) to make such comments, even if they’re harmless in (their) own mind. … Any time you bring a gun into a joke, it is never going to be taken in a light way.”
The firefighter who is the subject of an investigation was ordered to remove the original post to “quell additional hurt and anger,” Stevens said in an email to the community member who reported the incident. ” Our organization as a whole is completely about supporting the community,” she said. ” I believe (the employee) made a very big error in judgment. … In no way does it define our department as a whole.”
McFadden declined to make a public statement at this time.
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