Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Tuesday said that four of the six Miami firefighters who were involved with placing a noose on top of defaced photographs of one of their colleagues were being charged with misdemeanors for their roles in the incident.
The six firefighters were fired as a result.
Lt. Robert Webster, a veteran of the Miami Fire Department, found pictures of his family defaced with phallic symbols with a noose hanging on the family photos, all the result of a so-called prank.
Webster said we should not be silent partners to evil and that he was glad that he spoke up.
The incident took place September 2017, inside the historic Charles Hadley Park Fire Station 12 in Allapattah.
The ex-firefighters are Alex Sese, Kevin Meizoso, Harold Santana and Justin Rumbaugh. Former Lt. Sese received the brunt of the charges that include petty theft, criminal evidence and tampering with evidence, a felony. Meizoso, Satana and Rumbaugh were all charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief.
After more than a year of investigations and sworn testimonies, the state attorney office concluded that incident was not racially motivated.
“We were not able to use any testimony that would allow us to use that enhancement,” said Fernandez Rundle.
The investigation also could not conclude which of the people involved in the incident placed the noose on top of the defaced photographs.
“Speak up and you will be heard,” Webster said about the incident. The fire department transferred or fired the majority of the staff associated with the incident. Webster added that since the incident there has been an improvement in the culture of the fire department.
“We cannot allow the worst among us to be a representation of the greatness and beauty that is us,” he said.
The other two firefighters involved in the incident, Capt. William Bryson and David Rivera, haven't been charged.