A Rhode Island city official called the city’s firefighters “terrorists” and compared them to ISIS for putting an American flag on their firetruck. The firefighters say they have been told to remove the flag by city officials.
A local NBC affiliate obtained audio of Central Coventry Fire District Chairman Fred Gralinski making the comparison at a board meeting.
“They look like a bunch of yahoos,” Gralinski said. “Like in the paper, like ISIS in Syria going to take over a city. I don’t think they need that big flag on the back of the truck. That’s not America to me. Those are a bunch of terrorists. So, I’m going to ask you to take the flag off that truck.”
Now, the firefighters union claims they’re being told to take the flag off of the truck. “It’s American to us,” union president David Gorman told NBC10. “The members are very upset. I have a couple members, armed service retired, retired from the guard.”
Gregg Perry, a spokesman for the fire district, told NBC10 that the district is indeed implementing a new policy but that it only requires firefighters to “ask for permission” to put American flags and decals on their trucks. The firefighters, however, told NBC10 that the district is pressuring them behind the scenes to remove the American flag.
Gralinksi, for his part, apologized for any “perceived disrespect” from his comments.
Follow Peter Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson