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FDNY chief launches probe into controversial behavior at promotion ceremony

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The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Commissioner, Laura Kavanagh, is actively pursuing individuals within the department who were involved in booing New York Attorney General Letitia James and expressing support for former President Donald Trump during a recent promotion ceremony, sources reveal.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodges sent an email to fellow agency leaders, indicating that an investigation, led by the department’s Bureau of Investigation and Trials (BITS), is underway to identify those responsible for the disruptive behavior witnessed at the event.

In the email obtained by The Post, Hodges urged members involved to come forward voluntarily, suggesting that cooperation could mitigate potential consequences. He emphasized the department’s commitment to identifying the individuals, citing the availability of clear video evidence capturing the incident. Hodges outlined procedures for members to disclose their involvement, indicating that failing to do so could result in contact from BITS.

The directive included a set of talking points for deputy chiefs tasked with conducting the investigation, stressing the importance of members coming forward willingly. Meanwhile, some retired FDNY personnel criticized the department’s response, characterizing it as heavy-handed and infringing on individuals’ First Amendment rights. A retired member highlighted that many involved were off-duty and not in uniform at the time.

Renowned constitutional and criminal law attorney Alan Dershowitz condemned the FDNY’s approach, asserting that firefighters have a constitutional right to express their opinions, and any attempt by the government to identify and penalize them for exercising this right is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) issued a message to its members, alerting them to the investigation and the department’s possession of video evidence. The union advised members to adhere to FDNY regulations while also offering legal representation if needed.

The incident at the promotion ceremony has sparked controversy within the FDNY, with the department taking steps to address the behavior of certain individuals. As the investigation unfolds, questions surrounding free speech rights and departmental policies continue to emerge, underscoring the complexity of balancing individual expression with professional conduct within a public service organization like the FDNY.

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