Noose found on FDNY employees locker

February 7, 2011 2:40:09 PM PST
A noose was found outside the locker of an FDNY employee in Brooklyn.

It happened just weeks after he filed a discrimination suit against the city.

It was a typical Thursday for Gregory Seabrook.

The communications electrician started his shift around 3 p.m. at FDNY Headquarters on Union Street in Red Hook and made a bee line for his locker to grab his tools.

He says a three foot long twined rope noose, tied into a monkey fist knot, stopped him dead in his tracks.

"I was surprised and appalled that in this day and age I would find that in my workplace. I was upset by it," Seabrook said.

"This dates back to slavery. It's called a monkey fist because this end was used to inflict whipping and other discipline. We're in Black History Month and this is certainly not a good thing to see," said Kevin Mosley, Seabrook's attorney.

Mr. Seabrook says the noose was in front of his locker after he and four other minority electricians filed complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights, alleging that the fire department and its supervisors discriminated against African American and Latino electricians.

They say they were passed over for promotions, plum assignments and overtime.

"Out of 8,700 firefighters, approximately 2% are African American. One can reason that you're dealing with a system of intolerance and a resistance to integration," said Howard Shafran, Seabrook's attorney.

Seabrook's attorneys say it is eerily similar to the 2005 case of a black Brooklyn firefighter who claimed someone left a noose near his gear.

After 20 years on the job, he believes there's a culture of nepotism and a racial divide that needs to end.

"It's hurtful and I just want it to stop," Seabrook said.

A city law department spokesperson said, "The FDNY takes all alleged incidents of discrimination seriously, and it will look into the incident in question thoroughly."