MIAMI – Four of the six Miami firefighters who were fired after a noose and obscene drawings were found on the desk of a black lieutenant are being charged with misdemeanors for their roles in the incident.
Miami's state attorney announced the charges against Alex Sese, Kevin Meizoso, Harold Santana and Justin Rumbaugh during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
The incident took place at Miami Fire Station No. 12 in September 2017.
Sese, a former lieutenant, is also being charged with a felony count of witness tampering for trying to cover up the incident.
Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Lt. Robert Webster, whose family photos were covered with drawings of penises, was present at the news conference.
"What they did to my photographs -- it's not right," Webster said.
Sese was allegedly the mastermind behind the incident, which was reportedly payback for Webster leaving his items in their shared space.
Miami Fire Lt. Robert Webster calls the charges “proper punishment for the catalyst & the immature, childish people who followed..”— Glenna Milberg (@GlennaWPLG) February 12, 2019
And in this *must listen*, he gives a riveting schooling to anyone who mistakenly thinks the image of a noose can be a prank ⏩@WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/cgkv6wLfLu
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said there is no evidence that the incident was racially motivated, however civil rights supporters also attended the news conference and said even in 2019 we're seeing the severity of racist images.
"It is something that is a terror tactic," Webster said. "It was used not to just oppress an entire race of people and keep them in fear, but even after the chains have been removed, many of us still live unknowingly in fear."
Two other former firefighters, Capt. William Bryson and David Rivera, haven't been charged.