Augusta firefighter's tweet draws national attention, controversy

Thursday, June 13, 2013 1:18 PM
Last updated Friday, June 14, 2013 1:58 AM
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An Augusta firefighter’s tweet questioning the citizenship of an 11-year-old singing the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio on Tuesday gained national attention – and controversy – after it was picked up by news Web sites and blogs.

Sebastien De La Cruz returned Thursday to sing the national anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals.  DAVID J. PHILLIP/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAVID J. PHILLIP/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sebastien De La Cruz returned Thursday to sing the national anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Watch 11-year old Sebastien De La Cruz sing the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA finals in San Antonio Tuesday.

“How you signing the anthem lookin like an illegal immigrant,” tweeted Andre Lacey, who appeared to have since deleted his twitter account, @AndreLacey.

An Augusta firefighter since 2007, Lacey wasn’t working at Fire Engine Co. 5 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard mid-Thursday and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Fire Chief Chris James said the department was aware of the tweet and taking a look at its options.

“I don’t think he was on duty,” James said. “If he was at home, as despicable as that comment that he made is … I don’t think the actual tweet itself had anything to do with the fire department.”

Regardless, the firefighter “will be counseled for sure,” James said. “What he said by no means is reflective of our attitude. It’s completely inappropriate and not acceptable.”

The department continues to attempt to address social media issues as they arise but has no official policy.

James said some firefighters have voluntarily deleted their Facebook accounts after unrelated conversations have grown heated.

LATINO BOY SINGS AGAIN FOR GAME 4

SAN ANTONIO — An 11-year-old Latino boy whose singing of the national anthem at the NBA Finals set off a barrage of racist tweets, including one from an Augusta firefighter, earned a roaring ovation in an encore performance Thursday night.

Sebastien De La Cruz, a mariachi singer, was congratulated by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at midcourt afterward.

His second act followed an outpouring of support after disparaging tweets about Latinos during his nationally televised performance before Game 3 this week.

Other celebrities and politicians are also rallying behind De La Cruz. They include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and actress Eva Longoria, formerly married to Spurs star Tony Parker.

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itsanotherday1
43252
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itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 04:54 pm
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4
Ask people all over Africa

Ask people all over Africa about atrocities by Africans upon one another and get back to me.

itsanotherday1
43252
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itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 04:59 pm
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1
I agree with Pops

Who cares? The guy tweeted his thoughts, no matter how absurd and offensive you take them to be. People say stupid things all the time.

As far as him losing his job over it, no way, no how. It isn't like the FD is a business that stands to lose customers. I would have gotten counseled, if not fired had I done the same thing, but I worked in an industry where you could lose a $1M in business for tweaking someone the wrong way. That is why then and now, I stay anonymous due to discussing controversial subjects.

seenitB4
87280
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seenitB4 06/13/13 - 05:03 pm
9
4
Look at today in Africa

Some small children are forced to kill or be killed....all black on black.....arms & body parts cut off if they disobey...too many to name....yeh but we hear the same song & dance ....
THE WHITES --the whites are to blame for EVERYTHING!

Give it a rest.

internationallyunknown
4211
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internationallyunknown 06/13/13 - 05:06 pm
5
5
Day - do you really believe

Day - do you really believe that? It's the Africans fault? So white America has NOTHING to do with the race problem in America?

Jim Crow Laws...Civil Rights Era, public lynchings, Medgar Evers, KKK...yet, you feel that's all of this is the African's fault...

So be it.

internationallyunknown
4211
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internationallyunknown 06/13/13 - 05:08 pm
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6
It's ok...

To look at history through rosé colored lenses....your choice.

seenitB4
87280
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seenitB4 06/13/13 - 05:14 pm
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3
Rose colored glasses heh

I know I have spent too much time on here today.....believe whatever you choose......

I hope the fireman keeps his job & people move on to important problems.....we have some.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 06/13/13 - 05:17 pm
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1
Ya' know,
Unpublished

I hate it for some people, but I do call a spade a spade. Everybody's so concerned about permanent damage to the offended's psyche. Give me a break. Morons exist and need a good stiff kick in the a-- sometimes. Look at the democrats and their moronic ways. What a mess those idiots are.

nocnoc
42640
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nocnoc 06/13/13 - 05:34 pm
7
5
1st of all look at all the

1st of all look at all the new recent accounts.

Yes it was it an off handed, ill thought-out remark.

But to every "new" ranter out there.
Are you willing to quit your job for every dumb remark you have made in the past that violated your very own rules of PC?

Or, how about every remark you made against a person with different political belief than yours?

Many of you PC-Fascists need to read your own written hate speak once in a while.

This tweet, lame as it is, does not even come close to many I have read made against this person today. Are any of you going to quit your jobs over your hateful remarks?

Many of you have falsely screamed RACIST.
Should each of you be sued for slander and lose your jobs today?

Likely many of you never looked up the word RACIST?
Or, has the PC crowd tossed it around so much, that it means any time a person hurts someones feelings?

This wasn't racist it was a person speaking their ill thought-out opinion. Dumb yes, Racist no, and NOT worthy of being fired over either.

What many of you PC ranters have done today was re-enforce my personal belief that PC-Fascists are not OK with opinions, that they have not Authorized.

BTW: The 11 y/o kid sings very good and likely dressed to represent his dual nationality, what we call heritage. I have also heard him comment he is proud to be an American citizen. So yes, the tweet was wrong but not racist or a termination offense.

SUMMARY:
If I were the person I'd say in the tradition of Rhett Butler.

Frankly Liberals Flocci non faccio.

itsanotherday1
43252
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itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 06:21 pm
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Preach on Brother nocnoc!!

Preach on! Very succinct summary of the situation.

itsanotherday1
43252
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itsanotherday1 06/13/13 - 06:23 pm
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IU, who said it was African's

IU, who said it was African's fault? I simply pointed out your duplicity in accusing white people of atrocities as if no one else was capable of same. White people in this country saw the light and recognized the inhumanity of what they were doing. What is Africa's excuse for what is going on this very minute?

LillyfromtheMills
13271
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LillyfromtheMills 06/13/13 - 06:42 pm
3
2
Ask

Grateful Mother about this!

AutumnLeaves
7746
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AutumnLeaves 06/13/13 - 07:43 pm
4
2
Sounds like he was in a

Sounds like he was in a rotten mood and took it out on a talented young man. Well, that is pushing me into a bad mood and I'm tempted to call him a bully in this instance at least, and a seemingly prejudiced one. He should pick on someone his own size; in a sense that would be a lot smaller than this singer that has shown bigger talent in one song than most of the over-hyped off-pitch screamers have scratched my ears with time after time on the so-called talent shows on TV. I am so thankful I can switch channels!

Just My Opinion
5632
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Just My Opinion 06/13/13 - 08:03 pm
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1
I can't tell by the small

I can't tell by the small picture up top, but is Andre Lacey black or white? And no, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a huge difference. But, you have to admit, it does make it more interesting.
Wait a minute....was that a "racist" comment?
Oh, who cares?? It is what it is. We often forget that EVERYBODY has moments of making stupid and insensitive statements....EVERYBODY. This guy's statements were not life-threatening or did any real damage to anybody....remember "sticks and stones....."? Just like each of our comments to this story, his was ONE Twitter comment of many. Some of those comments have more "value" than others. His comment was on the lower scale....so what?
In a week, is anyone going to really remember this little story?

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:12 pm
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2
Just my

We Americans have a whole lot of more serious problems to worry about than a stupid tweet from a twit.

KenAmericanDad
79
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KenAmericanDad 06/13/13 - 08:13 pm
5
4
Racism vs. Prejudice

Lacey's not racist, because the kid is Mexican-American, which is a culture, not a race. What a bunch of hooey! How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? WHO CARES? Either way, Mr. Lacey has shown himself to not be very tolerant, and indeed very stupid. If you're going to post racist, prejudicial, statements against a group of people, he might want to do it anonymously, and not tell the world where he lives and works. Just for being THAT STUPID he should be fired.

L A Williams
61
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L A Williams 06/13/13 - 08:18 pm
8
2
not only insensitive - disgraceful, disrespectful, a desecration

Firefighters among other honored professionals are expected to set examples of good character, and whether on or off duty present an image worthy of the courage, respect, and responsibly; that of being beyond reproach as they strive to protect and serve those who look up to them in both their professional and private lives as their potential champions, rescuers, and in some cases their literal saviors.

This firefighter has failed in that trust and in doing so has not only betrayed those he is sworn to serve, but his colleagues and the Fire Service as well.

His actions, in my view, were not only insensitive ; they were disgraceful, disrespectful, and a desecration upon the irreproachable character of men and women within the San Antonio Professional Firefighters and their Honor Guard, The Augusta Fire Department, and all Professional and Volunteer Firefighter and Services throughout our Nation.

Should there be disciplinary action? Certainly. His oath of service recognizes, and mandates a conduct as reflecting well upon the Fire Service in both public and private activities.

And all public employees are mandated and expected to reframe from bringing ill repute upon the governmental entity for which they are deemed to serve.

In the interest of the community, the fire service, and the good men and women of the service; a simple administrative action for such offences is and has been utilized for years. And that being a commonly recognized discipline known as “conduct prejudicial to discipline.”

Certainly the Fire Chief should be aware of this action, and take appropriate steps, without delay, to extend a punishment at the maximum end of the disciplinary scale to put an end to these seemly escalating and repeating embarrassing events,

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:29 pm
3
7
Ever consider that the

Ever consider that the cramming down our throats of yet a second amnesty program, which because of its current magnitude, will have the ability to permanently change our country forever, is not bothetsome and frustrating frustratingto many longtime citizens and immigrants who did it the legal way?

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:43 pm
4
3
AC

Ken needs to abide by the rules!

KenAmericanDad
79
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KenAmericanDad 06/13/13 - 08:41 pm
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2
Is this just an inconsequential action or...

something bigger. People post that this is not important and will blow over in a week. I disagree. This scratched the surface in the issues that we still have in this country, especially after the Cheerios biracial kid commercial. But people cover up by saying it was nothing, it'll blow over, big deal. Yeah, let me guess, you're white. Race has never been a big deal to you, mostly because you don't have to live with the kind of "stupid" comments that FF Lacey tweeted. Right? When you do have to live with those comments, all the time, or more often than you'd like to, it does matter. And it gets old when white people tell you to move on, it was nothing, stop making a mountain out of a molehill. Which is something that is extra sad in the case of FF Lacey, because he's black!
And my LAST thought on this (I promised my wife), is that a grown man who will pick on a little kid, in front of God and the world, that's no man, just poop, to scrape off my shoe. I'll wager that FF Lacey wouldn't let such a comment slide if it were directed at HIS black son.

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:40 pm
3
4
Since Ken thinks obnoxious,

Since Ken thinks obnoxious, in his opinion should go away, a little education on respectful seems to be in order.

Pops
8494
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Pops 06/13/13 - 08:41 pm
4
0
It seems that

too many people on Twitter make these mistakes:
They think......
1) People are interested in what they are doing.
2) They are funny.
3) They somehow matter in the grand scheme of things.

This Andre is guilty of all of the above.....

The kid is the one making out like a bandit......he is getting some big time love all across the nation......

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:44 pm
3
3
Ken is not getting big time

Ken is not getting big time love from me.

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:50 pm
5
1
But only commenting on what

But only commenting on what he did was not all that you did Calling a fellow poster who disagreed with your OPINION a fool is a violation of posting rules.

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:53 pm
3
1
Notice, I did not condemn

Notice, I did not condemn your opinion, I condemned your obvious violation of posting rules.

KenAmericanDad
79
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KenAmericanDad 06/13/13 - 08:57 pm
8
2
Aw, now we come to the meat of it...

KSL doesn't want a "second amnesty program." <--And there you go, folks! That's why people are so upset, that's why they took it all out on a little brown kid, because he must pay for the sins of his people! Too bad his name is Sebastian instead of Jesus. Let me guess, you don't really know immigration history, right? Before the 20s you didn't come here "legally," you rounded up some cash, set sail, and hoped they didn't turn you back at Ellis Island. That's how my family did it. And then they lived in the Italian ghetto of NYC, sold fruit on the streets, got grief for not learning the language, being violent (we're all mafia, you know), being stupid, not wanting to become American. Oh, wait. Is that my Italian background or are those the stereotypes about today's Mexicans? My ancestors came here dirt poor and uneducated, before there even was an "Italy," who am I to turn up my nose and act as if I'm better than those who still come here in search of a dream. Should we have immigration laws? Yeah. Should people follow them? Yeah. But before I go capping on a little kid WHOM I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT EXCEPT THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN, I'd like to see all those EMPLOYERS who hire people to get dragged through the mud FIRST. If it wasn't for JOBS, they wouldn't come here. Someone's getting rich off this, and it ain't me, or you, or illegal Mexicans. Follow the money, these people have GOP and Dem friends who keep the status quo so they can have cheap labor. As soon as we get SERIOUS about employers, then I'll worry about the laborers they employe. And none of that "Oh, but how can they tell?" nonsense. If FF Lacey and all those other jerks can tell the kid was "illegal," how hard can it be? My wife's mad, I better leave. Later, folks! Miss me!

Pops
8494
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Pops 06/13/13 - 09:03 pm
3
0
WOW

This firefighter really heated things up.......

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 09:05 pm
3
3
Dang

I sure hope we aren't kin. I am 1/4Italian with the Italian side coming through Ellis Island in the late 1800's. But they were not cattle boat people. They were professionals.

Yeah, I know, my dad spent years downplaying his Italian side while loving up to his Mayflower side.

seenitB4
87280
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seenitB4 06/13/13 - 09:06 pm
4
2
OMG

Did the LOrd come down & speak to us.....yeh..I think he did....hehheh

Ksl put this in a very important spot...I am....trash it.....& yeh...we can't call others names & NEITHER can he.

AC check this & le me know if we all can do it....I want to call some a few names.

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 09:13 pm
2
2
Ken,

So you see, some my ancestors were first to get here under extreme conditions, and some arrived here under conditions similar to your family's.

Good attorneys learn early on to know the answers before they bring up tke questions or their points.

KSL
129565
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KSL 06/13/13 - 09:43 pm
2
2
Ken

Perhaps we can be friends . I know that my father must have felt a problem because of his last name. Probably why he tried to go to Canada and sign up to face the axis before he was 18 after he graduated from a private school in Brooklyn at the age of 17.

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