A volunteer firefighter, Tyler Roysdon has now been suspended for posting on Facebook racist remarks about preferring to save a dog from a burning building rather than someone of color. Roysdon, who was a volunteer firefighter in Franklin Township was suspended as soon as the post was spotted on social media.
But newly suspended firefighter Tyler Roysdon believes that he was within his rights to post his opinion on Facebook, and it is protected speech. Several media sources took screenshots of the Facebook post that has now been removed.
“That’s because one dog is more important than a million n——.”
Roysdon’s wife, Joei Frame Roysdon said that he apologized, but is entitled to his opinion.
“Everyone deserves a second chance and is also entitled to their own opinion.”
But the Franklin Township Fire Department isn’t buying it and has suspended Tyler Roysdon without pay (volunteers in this program are salaried) pending a hearing. The department released a statement about Roysdon.
“Recently, a Franklin Township volunteer firefighter posted unacceptable remarks on social media. Upon gaining knowledge of this information, Fire Chief Steve Bishop immediately contacted the firefighter and directed the comments be removed. The firefighter was suspended without pay until the Board of Township Trustees could meet to determine a course of action.”
Fire Chief Steve Bishop reportedly does not have the authority to terminate Tyler Roysdon, only suspend him. A disciplinary hearing is set for September 27th in front of the Board of Trustees. But if Trustee Brian Morris’ thoughts are any indication, then Roysdon is out of a job.
“I think it’s something you have to step back and take a look at. There’s no reason for it and he shouldn’t have said anything close to that.”
But other firefighters in Franklin Township want the world to know that Tyler Roysdon’s words are not representative of the rest of the Ohio Fire Department. Ryan Grubbs works as a volunteer with Tyler Roysdon and says that this post goes against everything the department stands for.
“We don’t pick and choose who needs us, we just go. We’re volunteers, we’re doing this because we love the community.”
Tyler Roysdon, 20, was officially suspended on Tuesday after Franklin Township officials were made aware of the racist posting. Township Administrator Traci Stivers said that it was the fire chief who insisted that Roysdon removed the post from Facebook.
“Fire Chief Steve Bishop immediately contacted the firefighter and directed the comments be removed.”
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Stivers explained that this is unacceptable behavior for a township employee, but that there is a process to remove Roysdon.
‘This is not acceptable behavior for a township employee. As a rule, all employees are given a closed-door disciplinary hearing that gives them a chance to provide witnesses or evidence providing their innocence.”
Roysdon has been charged with conduct unbecoming of a Franklin Township employee. Board President and Trustee Brian Morris says that Tyler Roysdon’s post on Facebook indicated that he would break the code as a firefighter.
“[Roysdon] blatantly said on social media that he wouldn’t do that. Even if you take race out of it, it still would be wrong. I’m disgusted in what he said. There is no reason for him to say that anytime, anywhere…That should never be said.”
Morris says that Roysdon is an enigma in the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department.
“I want people to realize this is only one man’s comment. We have a great group of men (firefighters) and disgusting comments from one individual does not represent the entire fire department.”
Do you think volunteer firefighter Tyler Roysdon should be fired for his racist post?
[Featured Image by Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images]