A Black Rochester firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the city alleging his captain took him and others to a party that had racist themes. Per the suit that was filed on August 11, Jerrod Jones alleged the party attendants ate fried chicken and drank cognac, Democrat and Chronicle reported.
Jones, who is a 14-year veteran, is currently on leave as a result of emotional distress and concerns over retaliation. He said the party was held at a mansion, adding that attendants passed offensive comments at a burlesque dancer who had dressed as Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart. Jones said the party brought back memories of the Get Out movie.
Jones also claims one of the party attendants was a senior Rochester police officer. The Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Fire Department have since launched an investigation into the incident.
Jones said he filed the lawsuit after the RFD failed to look into his internal complaint. He wants the city to pay him $4 million in damages. “It cut me very deeply; I’m sorry I even have to be here today,” Jones said during a news conference on August 11. “But as terribly as I’m feeling, I’m glad it happened to me and not someone who could be easily intimidated.”
The captain who took Jones and his colleagues to the party was identified as Jeffrey Krywy. The event was also held at a mansion owned by Nicholas Nicosia and Mary Znidarsic, the suit states.
Jones said he saw a cut-out image of Donald Trump at the party, adding that there were Juneteenth flags with “buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken prominently displayed.” The complaint also claimed there were images of some Democratic politicians as well as Rochester Police Accountability Board members.
The plaintiff claims Krywy and Nicosia were uncomfortable with his presence at the party, Democrat and Chronicle reported. He said Krywy barred the other firefighters from taking photos.
An attendant also told Jones that the party was necessary because Joe Biden was destroying the United States, the complaint stated. And before leaving the event, Jones said Znidarsic asked if he was interested in taking the fried chicken home.
In a statement, Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez said the alleged incident was “unacceptable and an affront to everyone who works with the RFD and in City Hall.” He also said Krywy has been placed on suspension “until the action has been received and accepted.”