A Black, New York firefighter alleges that he was pressured by his fire captain to attend a "vile" event where racist imagery that mocked Juneteenth was displayed, according to a legal filing per NBC News.
On Thursday (August 11), a notice of claim was filed stating that Jerrod Jones and two other firefighters went to a private party in an affluent Rochester neighborhood after their captain Jeffrey Krywy suggested they all go.
The filing is a notice of intent to file a lawsuit, NBC News reports.
When arriving at the party, Jones "felt immediately uneasy, and his uneasiness intensified as he walked up the driveway and noticed a large cut out of former President Donald Trump," according to the filing.
The firefighter became "completely shocked" once he was able to see the backyard party in full and found two large Juneteenth celebration flags on the lawn that displayed buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken in “an apparent use of the racist trope recycled by bigots to mock Black Americans,” the filing alleges.
According to the filing, Jones also saw "pictures of local democratic politicians on stakes across the grass around the backyard."
"Unable to leave and unsure of how to react," Jones told his fellow firefighters that he felt like he was in the movie Get Out, the filing said.
After leaving the party, the New York firefighter later reported the incident to a superior and asked them to address the issue, per the filing.
The superior promised to take action, but Jones was shocked to find that he was assigned to work with the same captain for his following shifts.
The filing said that Jones is currently on leave after suffering “emotional distress and fear of retaliation from Krywy and others.”
Rochester Fire Department Chief Felipe Hernandez said in a statement that an investigation of the incident had concluded and disciplinary action was “sent to the supervisor this week.”
“The allegations are serious, and the behavior described is unacceptable and an affront to everyone who works with the RFD and in City Hall,” Hernandez said.
Monroe County legislator Rachel Barnhart described the party Jones was allegedly pressured to go to as a “vile, racist event” and an “affront to every single citizen in this city.”
Nate McMurray, Jones' attorney, said the firefighter “feels like his family has betrayed him. Because he gave his life to this department and he always knew that there were problems, but he always believed he was part of helping the problems go away.”