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Briarcliffe Volunteer Fire Company in Delaware County was suspended after audio of members spewing racial slurs became public. The members also mocked Fanta Bility’s first name by drawing comparison to the soda, NBC News reports.
“Fanta soda, yeah, orange or Fanta grape,” a person can be heard saying, according to NBC News.
Lawyer Bruce Castor Jr., representing Fanta’s family, said they were “appalled” by the alleged statements.
“A kind and loving girl, Fanta brightened the lives of everyone she met,” Castor said in a statement, according to NBC News. “To speak of her with such disrespect shines the light of shame on those people at the firehouse making the remarks and reflects negatively on those good and true first responders who pledge their lives to the service of all members of the community.”
The conversation was allegedly recorded after the firefighters forgot to end their connection from a virtual meeting. Michael Pierce, a solicitor for Darby Township, said the insensitive comments started after other individuals left the teleconference.
“Suddenly, there was the sound of a group of people discussing the meeting while using foul inappropriate language,” Pierce said, Raw Story reports.
The original call was to discuss the consolidation of services between the Briarcliffe, Goodwill and other fire companies in the area, ABC6 reports.
Unbeknownst to the Briarcliffe firefighters, the Goodwill firefighters recorded the conversation.
“A bunch of f**king n***ers down there,” one man is heard saying about the all-Black Darby Township Fire Company.
“He’s just a piece of s**t,” one person added, talking about Darby’s fire chief.
The Briarcliffe firefighters are also accused of saying that Black firefighters are lazy, and too many Black people reside in the area.
“That’s the f**king problem,” one Briarcliffe firefighter allegedly said. “Blacks are taking over s**t.”
The Darby Township commissioners decided to suspend Briarcliffe Fire Company and called upon the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the call for possible criminal charges for hate speech, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
This content was originally published here.