Multiple firefighters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina have documented years of racial abuse and workplace harassment in a new report. Leading the way, former North Carolina firefighter Timika Ingram documented several instances in which she was abused and prevented from doing her job in a safe environment. Ingram alleged that her new cellphone was thrown on the roof of the fire station, tobacco juice was poured in her shoes and nails were placed under the wheels of her truck.
“It caused me pain, sleepless nights, suffering, anxiety,” Ingram said.
Ingram is not the only firefighter to endure such treatment. Last October, a group of Black firefighters came together to file a grievance demanding that Chief William “Trey” Mayo. The group claimed that Mayo failed to discipline white firefighters and ultimately created a hostile work environment for Black firefighters.
“It’s a festering problem that has become even more disease-ridden and even more detrimental to the life of the individuals who work here because of the current chief,” veteran firefighter Thomas Penn said.
The group out of Winston-Salem claimed that two white captains spoke about running over protesters supporting the memory of George Floyd. Not to mention, the group alleged that a firefighter made a noose during a ropes and knots class in 2017.
City Manager Lee Garrity has failed to make a public comment about the incident at hand. Thus far, the city has hired a third party to conduct a “climate assessment” for the fire department.
“We’d had very few grievances or complaints in the last couple of years,” Garrity said.
“But I am sure there are opportunities for improvement.”
The assessment will be completed at the end of the year.
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