by Yvette Carnell
Brian Beckmann had been demoted two ranks, from captain to firefighter, after ranting that “urban youths” are the products of “failed, sh–bag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents.”
Beckman also maligned Angela Corey, the prosecutor who charged George Zimmerman with second degree murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.
In a Tuesday ruling, arbitrator Mark I. Lurie found that the county’s action constituted a breach of Miami-Dade’s contract with the firefighters union since it gave authority to the mayor and not the fire chief.
In a written statement, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he was “disappointed by the arbitrator’s finding in this case.” He added, “We must always hold our County employees to a higher standard, and given the offensive and inflammatory remarks made by Mr. Beckmann – a member of a diverse organization that serves an equally diverse community – a quick slap on the wrist just isn’t good enough.”
Unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was shot to death by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman in February.
Sadly, this incident demonstrates the limits of allowing token gestures to posture as public policy in this country. Members of organizations tend to bind together and protect one another unless there is a law or policy in place to prevent such pack-like behavior. So when the community turns up the heat on out of line officials, their superiors make a token gestures to tamp down outrage, then overturn those symbolic gestures once the cameras leave.