Mayor Responds to ‘Vile’ Post Threatening Fire Chief

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said his administration is investigating legal action against the author of a Facebook post that contained “vile, racist and dangerous” language encouraging “vile and threatening behavior” directed at Fire Chief Barry Finley.

Brown addressed the Facebook post, published under the name of a “Rosemarie Cardiko Carson,” during a video conference Friday with reporters.

“Chief Findley loves his profession, he loves his community, he loves his family,” Brown said. “We stand behind him 100%. This will not be condoned or acceptable in this community.”

According to a news release issued by Brown earlier in the day, the post, which appeared on the Youngstown Professional Firefighters Local 312 Facebook page, appears to be part of a conversation with another individual who is using the name of a captain in the Youngstown fire department.

The post, as reported by Brown, contained the following exchange:

Rosemarie: “With all that is going on, we don’t need petty bullshit … do the job wisely or boot him out!!! Drag his ass on the back of one of your trucks…!!!”

John Thomas: “Who are you talking about?”

Rosemarie: “…your chief….”

John Thomas: “I thought that’s what you meant but I wasn’t sure.”

The comments are the latest in a series of “incidents and innuendos” throughout Finley’s tenure as fire chief, according to the mayor. Finley, an African American, was appointed by Brown in February 2018.

On April 20, Fire Fighters Local 312 announced on its Facebook page that an administrative law judge for the Ohio State Employee Relations Board ruled in its favor, finding the city “committed an unfair labor practice by eliminating three battalion chief positions.

Brown said has spoken with the city prosecutor, law director and police chief about potential legal action against the author of the threatening Facebook post, and has spoken with Finley about filing a report, he said.

If there is an opportunity to charge this individual, “We will,” he said.

“If they tell me today, we’ll do it today,” he added. “If they tell me we can’t I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll follow the law, but I wanted to address it.”

Local 312 Union President Charlie Smith, in a subsequent Facebook post, extended the local’s “deepest apologies” for the comment, which was written by “an outside entity” on the local’s public Facebook page this week, which is “meant to inform and educate the community about relevant topics that matter to public safety.”

Once the post came to the attention of the local’s executive board, it was removed, he said.

The union local “wants to make it extremely clear that in no way do we condone any hateful, racist, or inappropriate commentary or discussion, especially on our Facebook page,” he said. “We take great pride in our social media activity and hope these efforts are beneficial for our community and our members.”

Brown said he has not heard back from the other individual in the exchange, a captain in the fire department. The mayor said he would have expected someone to offer a response that the offensive rhetoric was not acceptable

“It was not. It was just left out there,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.