Asst. fire chief under fire for racial joke

November 18, 2008 3:18:54 PM PST
An assistant fire chief is saying sorry after sending a racially offensive cartoon of president-elect Barack Obama. This isn't the first time Thomas Reddy has gotten into trouble. He once had to resign as president of the Board of Education after using a racial slur.

This latest incident involves a knock-knock joke.

Reddy isn't shying away from the controversy. The assistant Ossining Fire Chief acknowledges he forwarded a chain email that's meant to be funny, though many are not laughing.

"I have to set the record straight. I am a leader, and I need to take reponsibility. It was wrong for me sending that out now that I look at it. I hurt someone, and I'm sorry for that," said Reddy.

It's billed as a horrifying knock knock joke. The slideshow begins with the worlds eyes and ends with a caricature of Barack Obama in a derogatory speech pattern insulting to African Americans.

Although Reddy forwarded the message from his personal email account, the address does refer to his rank as fire chief. The email wound up in the inbox of a village trustee. The 49-year old was reprimanded and ordered to make a public apology.

Reddy is well known in Ossining having spent 24 years in the police department, and 32 years a volunteer firefighter. In 1996 he resigned as school board president after using a racial slur to describe a police department colleague.


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