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City’s Black Firefighters Press for FDNY Accountability

A Fire Department official was grilled in federal court about hiring two white former cops involved in the infamous police shooting of Amadou Diallo.

The shocking revelation was heard before Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in a continuing case where the city’s black firefighters are arguing for a federal monitor to oversee FDNY reform.

In the courtroom, FDNY Director of Candidate Investigations Dean Tow was reportedly asked about former NYPD cops Richard Murphy and Edward McMellon, who the department hired after being cleared of gunning down Diallo.

“Did you have any concern that, perhaps, in shooting an innocent civilian [‘the cops’] judgment, while although not criminal, may have been faulty?” asked lawyer Richard Levy, counsel for the Vulcan Society, a national organization of black firefighters.

“No,” Tow replied tersely.


The Vulcan Society wants the federal court to order changes both in its hiring policy and to reform the way the FDNY investigates discrimination complaints.

Garaufis has previously ruled that the last two written firefighter tests were discriminatory against minorities. Currently, the court is looking at evidence concerning a culture of racial hatred in city firehouses.

Also in court last week, FDNY Assistant Commissioner Patricia Kavaler explained in sworn depositions that a “boys being boys” culture existed in hiring where FDNY higher-ups would make voucher calls for favored candidates.

“He beat his wife but his wife took him back so he shouldn’t be considered a wife beater,” she said in her 2008 statement, describing the types of calls made on behalf of troubled white candidates. “He still could be a good firefighter.”