Fire Recruit Accuses Department Of Racism, Discrimination During Training

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A St. Louis County Fire Academy recruit is speaking out about alleged racism and discrimination occurring during training for future first responders, NBC12 reports.

Fire recruit Deontay Johnson said the academy is fostering a hostile work environment by turning a blind eye to acts of racism, discrimination, and bullying.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that they are other people who feel uncomfortable going through St. Louis County Academy,” Johnson said.

Johnson recalled one comment that a fellow recruit made once.

"Do you have HIV because I wouldn’t want a mosquito to bite you and then to land on me," one recruit allegedly asked Johnson.

The 29-year-old contacted his supervisor with concerns in October and hasn't received a response. In an email sent to a supervisor, Johnson wrote that someone with a higher rank “mocked me in front of the class.”

“I don’t really see them making jokes in this manner with other students,” Johnson said. “I’m not afraid to speak out.”

Previous and current recruits agreed with Johnson's sentiments but declined to publicly identify themselves over fear of retaliation.

Academy recruitment and instructor coordinator Chris Jones declined to comment on the situation, saying “it’s a personnel matter."

“I’m certainly confident that I will probably be blackballed in St. Louis County,” Johnson said.

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