Philadelphia, December 18, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement in response to postings made by a Philadelphia Fire Department paramedic on social media:
“In the strongest possible terms, I condemn the behavior of a paramedic in the Philadelphia Fire Department who used social media to post a reprehensible message and photo that targeted police officers particularly at a time of emotional volatility and citizen protests in our nation in the wake of tragedies in Ferguson and New York City.
“We Philadelphians expect our public servants to uphold the highest standards of behavior as they conduct the city’s business. City employees must always be mindful, whether on or off duty, that their behavior should not negatively reflect on our City or raise questions that may diminish citizen confidence because a city employee might be unable to carry out their duties as a result of his or her actions, expressions or behavior either directly or on social media.
“We celebrate the exercise of our First Amendment right to expression, but there are clear limits, and this posting went far beyond standards of decency. Inflammatory speech or behavior like this is simply irresponsible and could potentially incite others to inappropriate actions.
“When this matter came to our attention yesterday, we asked Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer to undertake a thorough investigation and invoke whatever discipline is warranted in this circumstance. Any decision regarding discipline will be made by the Fire Commissioner after the completion of this investigation.
“I’m asking that all of us be particularly mindful of our actions and expressions regarding matters of public safety and our first responders. We need to respect them all, and they must respect our citizens as well.”