Citizens call for Briarcliffe Fire Company to lose certification over alleged racism caught on camera
DARBY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Nearly a month after the Briarcliffe Fire Company was suspended for the alleged use of racial slurs on a virtual meeting, community members gathered to discuss the future of the department.
The Darby Township Board of Commissioners on Wednesday held a special meeting that included many vocal community members who said they no longer trust the department.
There was a call to remove the department's certification, but the board decided that they will not make any final decision until the District Attorney's Office is done with its investigation.
Briarcliffe Fire Company was suspended after a Jan. 27 virtual meeting between township fire companies and commissioners about a potential consolidation.
According to a letter from the Goodwill Fire Company obtained by FOX 29, following the end of the meeting, a group of people remained on the call.
The letter says there was then a group of people that could be heard discussing the meeting using foul language, and identifies those involved in the conversation as members of the Briarcliffe Fire Company.
The conversation, which lasted an hour and 45 minutes, allegedly included racial slurs when discussing members of other fire companies and township residents.
One of the Briarcliffe Fire Company members was also accused of making a joke about, Fanta Bility, a young girl who was killed in a shooting in Sharon Hill last fall.
"It’s outright racism,", NAACP Local Chapter President Sheila Carter said. "It shows we here in the Southern Darby Township this is not something new for us. This is just something now that has come to the surface."
Derogatory and otherwise offensive comments were also allegedly made about other township officials. The fire company, located in Darby Township will not be receiving fire calls during the suspension.
A member of the Board of Directors for Briarcliffe Fire Company released a statement saying they don’t tolerate any form of racism and they take it seriously. They also call into question the authenticity and reliability of the recordings.
The Briarcliffe Chief was in attendance at Wednesday night's meeting, but he didn’t offer further comment. The department's suspension was extended for another 60 days on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Delaware County District Attorney's Office has provided no timetable for when its investigation will be complete.
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