Meridian Twp. firefighter “terminated from employment” over racial comments

Michigan

MERIDIAN TWP., Mich (WLNS) – Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh has released a statement regarding an internal investigation of a firefighter regarding allegations of making racial comments.

Walsh said:

“On behalf of Meridian Township, I want to publicly apologize to the Black community, to the Black Lives Matter organization and movement and our entire community for the June 22, 2020 social media posting by Meridian Township Fire Lieutenant Dennis Schrier.

Over the past two weeks, our Human Resources Department has conducted a comprehensive investigation regarding the social media posts. I was presented a copy of the report on Monday, July 6th.  The report clearly outlines serious violations of the standards of our Fire Department and this Township and that the posts reflect racial bias. The statement “Black Lives Don’t Matter” is malicious, obscene and threatening. In no way do the comments embody the fabric of Meridian Township. Further, his statements greatly impair the operation and efficiency of our Fire Department.      

Based on the findings of the thorough investigation, Dennis Schrier has been terminated from his employment with the Meridian Township Fire Department. I want to thank everyone who came forward with additional information over the past two weeks.

In the end, we did the right thing and I’m proud to say Black Lives Do Matter.”

Schrier Worked for 22 years for the Meridian Township Fire Department.

According to a report released by the Township Tuesday afternoon, a week prior to making those June 22nd comments, Schrier said he was blocked by Facebook for making another post which said Michelle Obama was ugly. He successfully protested the Facebook block, and when he received notice from the township for a pre-disciplinary meeting, be believed it was regarding the post about Michelle Obama.

More than a dozen witnesses were interviewed during the investigation. One witness claimed that in 2016 Schrier posted about Muhammad Ali after his death, describing him as a draft dodger and another recalled a 2015 Facebook post as including racial slurs about hispanic people.

The report says Schrier denies racial bias, saying “some of his best friends are African Americans. Nonetheless, after an overwhelming response from the community, and a thorough investigation, Walsh believes the right decision was firing him.

“We’re a very opening and welcoming community and it’s hard to believe that this would happen in Meridian Township, but I think we did the right thing… I know we did, and the message is very clear to our community and beyond our community. Black lives do matter,” Walsh said.

6 News Reporter Brittany Flowers went to Schrier’s home Tuesday evening, but his wife said he was not available. She did not wish to comment.

Read the township’s full report here.

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