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MFD: 12 facing departmental charges after “figurine” found hanging in station

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 02, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Twelve people, either with knowledge of, or responsibility to have knowledge of a brown figurine being hung inside Milwaukee Fire Station No. 2, will face departmental charges.

TMJ4 spoke with Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing who said the entire department will now undergo harassment training following a recommendation from the Fire and Police Commission. The FPC’s executive director found out about the incident in mid-May.

Chief Rohlfing said he believed the firefighter who hung the figurine did not do so with malicious or racist intent and explained the member was coming back from a call and discovered the figurine outside.

Rohlfing said the firefighter brought the figurine in, shared it with others before hanging it on a bulletin, hoping to learn its significance.

The chief said it already had a pink ribbon around the neck area when it was found and condemned the firefighter action of hanging it up.

The investigation went on for several months as the chief cited due process and COVID-19.

"The investigation took a little longer than we would've liked because of the sudden onset of the [Coronavirus] pandemic,” Rohlfing said.

TMJ4 learned two members of the department retired during the investigation would have been included. They cannot face punishment.

The 12 others will be read their departmental charges as they come into work over the course of the next week.

They will have seven days to respond to the charges before any disciplinary actions can be taken.

Chief Rohlfing did not detail what punishment the firefighters could face, saying that information will come out after action is taken.

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