Several South Carolina firefighters and emergency workers are out of a job due to controversial social media posts and comments about protesters of police brutality.
Columbia, S.C. paramedics Tommy Boland and Troy Beckham and emergency medical technician Tyler Dixon were terminated from Richland County Emergency Medical Services this week for their posts on Facebook. Donald Oliver, also a Richland County, S.C. EMT, chose to resign.
Their firings were among a second round of terminations that began earlier in the month after protests broke out over the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in St. Anthony, Mo.
Captain Jimmy Morris, also of Columbia, S.C., was fired last week after he took a break from working a Black Lives Matters protest to post what he really thought about demonstrators blocking the interstate.
“Idiots shutting down I-126. Better not be there when I get off work or [they] is going to become run over dumb a—-,” said the captain.
Morris had been with the department 16 years, according to The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, and made a salary of $53,722. He was fired along with firefighter Dave W. Proctor and probationary firefighter Edward Augustyn III, who had just joined the department in February, according to Columbia CBS affiliate WLTX.
Interim Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals strongly disapproved of the social media activities of all seven men, and said they were in direct violation of the company’s “zero tolerance” policy for “actions which are grossly unprofessional” or in violation of department standards.
“EMS is called upon to serve citizens in times of duress,” Seals said in a statement. “The statements on social media were threatening and could be taken as the County having individuals, who because of their bias, may adjust their care – and that erodes public trust and is unacceptable.”