NORTH EAST – The North East Volunteer Fire Company has launched an investigation after learning that one of its volunteer members purportedly posted numerous messages containing racial slurs – predominantly directed at black people – on his personal social media account, according to a statement released by the fire department’s board of directors.
“As the investigation is on-going in nature, the Fire Company is unable to provide details of the matter at this time. That said, the social media postings that have come to light contain vile and repugnant commentary that in no way reflects the values of the North East Fire Company Inc. The Fire Company remains committed to its mission to provide aid and emergency services to any and all members of our community,” a portion of the statement reads.
Elkton-based lawyer Cameron A. Brown, serving as the company’s attorney regarding this matter, issued the board’s written statement to the Cecil Whig late Friday night.
Brown said he is not at liberty to comment beyond the information contained in the statement, which does not identify the firefighter who purportedly posted the messages that spurred the investigation. The statement also does not provide background regarding his length of his affiliation with the company, his level of involvement with the company or his volunteer position with the company.
The social media posts in question came to light on Thursday, when Resist Programming, an anonymous Twitter account with a stated mission to expose racists, identified NEVFC volunteer firefighter Jerry Crutchfield as the author on social media. It also reposted several messages that had been gleaned from his social media account.
Attempts by the Cecil Whig to reach Crutchfield by phone for comment were unsuccessful. Online information indicates that Crutchfield's Twitter page no longer exists.
In addition to using the N-word and other derogatory terms to identify black people, Crutchfield’s unearthed social media posts are marked by messages that include “’Black Lives Don’t Matter,” “I (heart icon) Being White,” and “The south will rise again.”
In one of his social media messages, Crutchfield opines, “The black lives matter movement is the poorest excuse for a group ever.”
Other posts found on Crutchfield’s social media account are more flagrant, including one in which he opines on the recent controversy involving Bubba Wallace, the only African-American, top-tier NASCAR driver.
Last month, a noose was found hanging in the Talladega Superspeedway garage assigned to Wallace for a Cup Series race, triggering an FBI investigation.
That federal investigation revealed that the looped rope resembling a noose actually was a pull-down rope for the garage door, that it had been there for several months and that the garages assigned to other NASCAR drivers also had pull-down ropes. FBI investigators concluded that the rope did not reflect a racist act.
“That [racial slur] race car driver bubba wallace is such a baby back [expletive] he should be hung out to dry by a noose,” reads the post that Resist Programming found on Crutchfield’s social media account and reposted, along with several others attributed to him.
The reposting of Crutchfield's social media messages by the Resist Programming account has sparked an online public outcry for his removal from the NEVFC.
In the statement released by the NEVFC board of directors, officials denounce the content of the posts.
“There is no place in our Company for the ugly and hateful rhetoric displayed. The Fire Company intends to undertake its investigation thoroughly and expeditiously, and will take appropriate action as the findings and conclusions of the investigation,” reads one section of the NEVFC statement.
That statement opens with, “The North East Fire Company Inc. (the “Fire Company”) is aware of the social media postings. The Fire Company is investigating the matter in accordance with the Company Bylaws, which govern the actions and internal processes of the Fire Company, including personnel matters such as this.”