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Ohio firefighter: 'One dog is more important than a million' African Americans

September 19, 2017 at 8:18 AM

Tyler Royston has been suspended from his position for racist comments (Facebook/)

An Ohio firefighter appears to have put his job in jeopardy by posting offensive comments to Facebook.

Until last week, Tyler Roysdon suited up as a volunteer firefighter in Franklin Township, a small town in southwestern Ohio, about 40 miles north of Cincinnati.

But, according to station WHIO, a recent Facebook back-and-forth caught the 20-year-old writing that in a burning building he would choose to save a dog before an African American because “one dog is more important than a million [expletive],” he wrote, using the n-word.

The post — arriving at a time when racial tensions are cranked high across the nation and debates are endlessly waged over what actually constitutes offensive speech — has since been deleted from Roysdon’s account. But the statement did not disappear before being spotted by local authorities.

Last week, the township’s board of trustees voted to indefinitely suspend Roysdon for “conduct unbecoming a township employee.” Roysdon’s work as a volunteer was a paid position.

“Fire Chief Steve Bishop immediately contacted the firefighter and directed the comments be removed,” the township said in a statement. “The firefighter was suspended without pay until the Board of Township Trustees could meet to determine a course of action.”

Roysdon — whose Facebook account also features pictures of the Ohioan in firefighter gear as well as Confederate flag memes — did not immediately respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. A woman who identified herself as his wife told Fox 19: “He admitted that he said the things that were wrong and apologized. Everyone deserves a second chance and is also entitled to their own opinion.”

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Tyler Roysdon, a volunteer firefighter in Franklin Township, Ohio, was suspended after allegedly writing on Facebook that he’d prefer to save a dog rather than an African American in an emergency. (FOX19 NOW)

According to the Journal-News, the township trustees have scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Sept. 27 to address the charges. Roysdon will have the opportunity to call witnesses.

“I’m disgusted in what he said,” Brian Morris, the trustee president, told the paper. “There is no reason for him to say that anytime, anywhere … That should never be said.”

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Kyle Swenson is a reporter with The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. He previously worked at the New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Cleveland Scene.

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