City of Miami May Be Sued for Releasing Photos of Firefighters Fired in Noose Incident

Top, from left: William Bryson, Kevin Meizoso and David Rivera. Bottom, from left: Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana and Alejandro Sese. (City of Miami)
Top, from left: William Bryson, Kevin Meizoso and David Rivera. Bottom, from left: Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana and Alejandro Sese. (City of Miami)

There are two things that incense me about this story. The first: that the city of Miami screwed up and now wants the media not to do its job. The second? That at least one of the alleged perpetrators of a horribly racist act looks black AF, and willingly participated in this anti-black fuckery. He probably identifies as “Hispanic, not black” on forms, but the man in the mirror says otherwise, my dude.


OK—on to the news.

After mistakenly releasing the pictures of six firefighters who were fired over a noose incident in a firehouse, the city of Miami is demanding that media take down the photos.


The Miami Herald reports that shortly after midnight Friday, an attorney for the city sent a cease and desist letter ordering several outlets to stop showing the photos of the six men. The lawyer said that they were not supposed to have been released.

“As former first responders, their photos are confidential and exempt under Florida’s public disclosure law and should not have been released,” city attorney Kevin R. Jones wrote.

The Miami Herald then told the city to … well, let’s just say the photos are still up because they were legally obtained.

The photos reference a Sept. 9 incident at Miami Fire Station 12, where firefighters Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana and Alejandro Sese were accused of taking the family photos of Robert S. Webster, an African-American lieutenant, drawing penises on them and then hanging a thin white rope fashioned into a noose over one of them.


According to an earlier Herald report, the vandalism was reportedly due to “an open conversation about personal items being left out inside the station that prompted Sese to complain about Webster’s photos in their dorm room.”

And, as reported earlier by The Root, “[I]t was Sese’s idea to deface the photographs, and he was the one who retrieved them. Meizoso, Rumbaugh and Santana reportedly drew lewd, phallic images on the photos. Rivera reportedly returned them to their picture frames. [William W. Bryson] allegedly failed to stop the vandalism, then ignored requests to come forward and report the incident.”


The six firefighters were fired Wednesday. Bryson is the son of former Miami Fire Chief William W. “Shorty” Bryson, Miami Local 10 reports.


Another five employees remain under investigation and are facing possible discipline.

On Thursday, after the city released the photos of the six fired firefighters, it received an email from an attorney representing Miami’s fire union, warning that the city may have set itself up for a lawsuit.


“The release of these photographs, which now appear in several media reports including reports on the internet, is inconsistent with the City’s legal obligation to consider the underlying purpose of the statute, and may subject the City to potential civil liability for the unwarranted disclosure of public records,” attorney Osnat K. Rind wrote. “The Union requests that you cease and desist in this regard.”

The city then obviously tried to cover its arse, but that cat was already out of the bag.


Read more at the Miami Herald.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.



To all my Latin@ brothers and sisters sucking up to white power,

They’re never gonna make you part of their team, even if they’re fucking you daily and having kids with you. Stop this shit. Now.

wake the fuck up,

imaginary friend