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.

Comments (83) Add comment
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happychimer
19396
Points
happychimer 06/13/13 - 08:44 pm
5
2
The boy has a beautiful

The boy has a beautiful voice. I am ashamed to know that a firefighter talked such trash about an 11 year old boy. A decent human being does not trash a child. The firefighter's actions tells me that I don't care to be within 10 miles of him. That child is innocent. That firefighter needs to be punished.

KSL
140451
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KSL 06/13/13 - 08:58 pm
3
2
Chastised, but not punished.

Chastised, but not punished. People defame and even lie without punishment everyday.

Boudreaux
127
Points
Boudreaux 06/13/13 - 10:52 pm
1
6
Well, was the kid legal?

It makes a difference!

jkline
527
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jkline 06/14/13 - 03:52 am
7
0
Much Ado about Nothing

1. Citizenship is not a requirement to sing a song, and so who cares what kind of passport he has?

2. Some fireman making a comment, right or wrong, intelligent or stupid, grammatical or ungrammatical, to his friends is not anybody else's business. That this non-event has been blown up into something that a Fire Chief needs to answer questions about is a symptom of a sort of social disease that has developed, and the press should do the responsible thing and ignore it.

3. It is not important. Leave the kid and the fireman alone.

seenitB4
93819
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seenitB4 06/14/13 - 07:22 am
7
1
AMEN

Leave the kid and the fireman alone.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 06/14/13 - 07:28 am
13
1
Freedom of speech people!!!

Freedom of speech people!!! We as Americans seem to forget that means even things that will tick you off. I am beginning to think we no longer have freedom of speech because so many people try to stifle the rights of people to speak freely regardless of whether you like it or not. He didn't say hey let's kill that immigrant looking kid which would be a threat and disturbing. Instead he stated HIS opinion. It seems we are going back to the dark ages when one could not speak out against the aristocracy are risk beheading!!! His opinion may be offensive but it is his so chalk it up as he is ignorant and move on. I bet there are plenty of you on here who have made or thought a racist comment or thought at some time in your life. You would be a liar if you say "no". I say develop some thick skin and get over it. I have been called names and I survived.

LocalGirl
317
Points
LocalGirl 06/14/13 - 08:09 am
2
8
Hold the Firefighter Accountable

He deserves at least a reprimand for bringin embarrassment on his employer. Even if you don't think the guy is racist based on that comment, I bet you he says much worse that truly is racist.

JRC2024
9998
Points
JRC2024 06/14/13 - 08:33 am
3
1
I like what nonoc said

I like what nonoc said earlier. Flocci non facio. Look it up on google.

Give it a rest Ken.

seminolewind
647
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seminolewind 06/14/13 - 08:45 am
0
0
Guess
Unpublished

The first amendment has already been thrown out the door!!! Call it what you see, the little shiet didn't dispute the fact he was an illegal alien!

Dixieman
16595
Points
Dixieman 06/14/13 - 08:56 am
9
1
What a jerk. BUT--

And he can't even spell.
But this is his private trash and is NOT the Fire Department's business.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 06/14/13 - 10:05 am
5
1
I am willing to bet you that

I am willing to bet you that someone who is spewing all the "racism" accusations siting resources they have read to support that the big bad white folks are the root of all evil is about as racist a person as they come. Why do I think this because the facts are there for all to see. Who can claim not to be racist when they spend so much time reading up on it and researching it. My friends of many colors we actually sit around and talk about work, life, family, and so many other things. We do not have intense conversations about whose forefathers did what to who. That is when you know your not racist when you see each other as individuals not a color.

Bizkit
34416
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Bizkit 06/14/13 - 09:12 am
4
1
Well as much as I hold his

Well as much as I hold his comments in disdain-I like he isn't being charged with a "hate" crime and we still have freedom in America. It won't last long-my bet. In another ten years he would be doing time for making comments about "certain" ethnicities. Really who cares . This isn't news but to highlight for politically manipulation to create the notion of "Hate" crimes. My bet this strategy will likely create more hate than ever.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 06/14/13 - 09:19 am
0
3
I really, really, like
Unpublished

I really, really, like Dixieman's summary at 9:56. I get only one thumb, though.

john
1193
Points
john 06/14/13 - 09:28 am
3
0
evil white people

You know they speak Spanish in Mexico and points south, not Mexican. Like we dont speak American, we speak English. Just saying.

seenitB4
93819
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seenitB4 06/14/13 - 09:34 am
5
1
To bizkit

-I like he isn't being charged with a "hate" crime and we still have freedom in America. It won't last long-my bet. In another ten years he would be doing time for making comments about "certain" ethnicities.

and if we sit still & take it.. we are the fools imo....radio jocks get fired----tv anchors lose their jobs.....& we sit still....enough is enough....many many stupid comments are made DAILY by all walks of life.....I can see big time rebellion hitting the streets....the tipping point is here..

bigj706
1297
Points
bigj706 06/14/13 - 09:39 am
3
3
Yeah its easy to want to move

Yeah its easy to want to move on to more important problems when the actions are not directed toward you. Its easy to say its not important but grow up with it and you would sing a different tune.

bigj706
1297
Points
bigj706 06/14/13 - 09:48 am
3
2
Just because you notice when

Just because you notice when someone is racist or said something you don't like doesn't make you one. Its just a cop out to not deal with the situation most people don't say anything in public but are real brave now behind a computer screen so their true feelings are coming out and all the grumpy Guses on here mad about an election is letting their true heart out now. As long as everything going your way stay in your on lane and I don't have to look at you. Just stay in your neighborhood and I stay in mine everything is fine., but since the lines are crossed since the election the hate is out. Everyday its foodstamp hating or some program they been hear forever , but since thing didn't go your way Hate Hate Hate is coming

justthefacts
24061
Points
justthefacts 06/14/13 - 09:58 am
6
0
LOL

What???

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 06/14/13 - 10:06 am
5
1
Watch it

You don't want that hate to overflow the pages on here...but WHAT are you talking about.....with this..

but since the lines are crossed since the election the hate is out.

Why is it sooo hard to understand the giveaway politics make many Reps mad? BTW..I vote for the person 90% of the time...I have voted on all sides of politics.......& I can truthfully say that Roundtree has made some great decisions......he is making a good Sheriff....it isn't hate when you say enough is enough......this country can't stand under the programs of give all to any & don't worry about the money.....we will be like Europe & it won't be pretty....
I came from a very poor family...we had little....I can relate to poor households & I do.......what I can't relate to is many many kids & 0 daddy at home....welfare generations & no end in sight....if that makes me a hater in your eyes...SO BE IT!!!!!

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 06/14/13 - 10:15 am
3
1
and this

most people don't say anything in public but are real brave now behind a computer screen so their true feelings are coming out and all the grumpy Guses on here mad about an election is letting their true heart out now

haahah...ask Cgee how I am in person....the same as you see on here....mean ole woman....gotta go now....not leaving YOU just this place for awhile....

GiantsAllDay
10295
Points
GiantsAllDay 06/14/13 - 10:21 am
6
2
1) He should not lose his job

1) He should not lose his job and the article does not state that he is in danger of losing his job. His job is not connected to what he said in his tweet
2) If, during his duties as a firefighter, he entered a burning building and saved my life or the life of a member of my family, I wouldn't care what his feelings were about little Hispanic kids
3) All of us are missing the most important part of the story, because the AC neglected to mention it. The series is even at 2 a piece.

Parnell S
66
Points
Parnell S 06/14/13 - 11:27 am
3
2
Freedom

I guess it is ok for the media to write what whatever fits their motive. What happened to freedom of speech? This man made a comment!
You are worried about what makes Augusta look bad then start with the leadership concerned people! Grow up!

Fiat_Lux
16246
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/14/13 - 01:20 pm
3
2
I can't help but marvel that so many don't know the difference

between race and ethnicity or national origin. It may be in very poor taste, and certainly heartless, but it is not racist to question the legality of someone's presence in the United States.

Besides, if Andre Lacey is black, it's not possible for him to be a racist. ;-)

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/14/13 - 01:33 pm
1
2
"You don't want that hate to
Unpublished

"You don't want that hate to overflow the pages on here...but WHAT are you talking about.....with this.."
seenitb4, Herman Cain said it well.
"African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain said on CNN's "The Situation Room" in an interview airing Wednesday between 5-7 p.m. ET. "I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple."

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 06/14/13 - 02:21 pm
0
1
I can only HOPE that this

I can only HOPE that this firefighter learns a valuble lesson from this and not to sterotype ethnicities. I certainly don't believe this was a "racist" comment; but a comment made from ignorance. Ignorance which can be reversed with some simple common sense education.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free."

This statement doesn't just refer to a certain group of people, but people throughout the WORLD. People who want to come HERE, legally and HELP US build a better Country and hopefully WORLD. This applies to South American's, North American's, Africans, Asian's, Europeans, etc. It applies to caucasian's, black's, orientals, hispanics, arabics's, and every other person who desires a better life than their Country is allowing.

Who else has the same motto as above? God!! If you are one who believes only people of a certain ethnic group can inherited the Kingdom of God, you're a darn fool!!! Freedom IS for everyone!! There are people who flee here from all over the world because of their Country's oppressive governments and I WELCOME THEM!!! Please come here and enjoy the freedom this Country provides us. We should NOT be the only persons in the world to have this freedom. But we should ALL help in providing this freedom. Paying our share and doing it the RIGHT WAY!! Again; God also says if YOU will come to Me and accept MY RULES; I welcome you with open arms. But guess what? There are RULES AND REGULATIONS; even with Him.

Hopefully this firefighter will LEARN from his mistakes. He doesn't need to lose his ability to be gainfully employed because of this mistake. BUT, if he shows a pattern of applying this type attitude, maybe it should be looked at again. More than anything, and something I haven't heard others talk about; is that he needs to LEARN, as we all do. Common sense education is the key to getting away from sterotyping AND racism; if it's present in ones life.

jmartinez
18
Points
jmartinez 06/14/13 - 03:11 pm
1
0
he should be reprimanded and counseled

ok so this firefighter used bad judgement, clearly. What everyone seems to be overlooking is that when you are employed as a public servant that has taken a oath of service, you cannot voice your narrow minded opinions of other races on a social media site. Our Armed Forces also take oaths of service and they proudly fight for all citizes of all races and religions. This firefighter needs to be reminded that as a public servant for the people of Augusta, GA he needs to keep his racist views to himself. FF Lacey has a minority son about the same age of the child he verbally attacked and I can bet he would not like it a bit, if his son was verbally attacked because of the color of his skin.

Fiat_Lux
16246
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/14/13 - 04:18 pm
5
1
Here, Sean, and the sensitive among us; try this instead:

Give. Me. A Freakin. BREAK. It's NOT RACISM.

It's just crude, boorish behavior. It's also something people are free to do as American citizens. There is no law against being boorish, crass or even indecent and indisputably immoral, as clearly seen from the standard day-to-day behavior of possibly the majority of Americans, even the well off and well educated.

So please stop ragging on this poor, misguided fire fighter who clearly made a stupid (can I say that? Yes?) mistake. It's embarrassing to have such ill-informed screeching put out there for all the world to read--more embarrassing than Lacey's tweet, in fact. [As edited for the sensitive.]

I'm sure Chris James will get all his self-righteous umbrage going quite sufficiently for Mr. Lacey's complete edification. That poor, benighted guy may never open his pie hole again.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 06/14/13 - 04:51 pm
3
1
Dang Fiat

Now THAT was a fantastic post......I'm clapping & you are sooo right.....keep them quiet by raising a fit over nonesense quotes.

Parnell S
66
Points
Parnell S 06/14/13 - 05:02 pm
1
1
Hypocrites

By the way, all of the people who are slamming this man are hypocrites! You do not know this man and you are throwing out your comments! So it is ok for all of you to do this to him?
Pick up the trash in your yard before telling him to rake his leafs.
You really are showing who is the real racist.

Darby
28399
Points
Darby 06/14/13 - 05:18 pm
2
1
George Orwell would be so vindicated.

Yeah, the man is a jerk, but a free jerk with First Amendment rights to make a fool of himself.

Even if he were on duty at the time, it would be a technicality at best. That is unless he somehow worded his tweet to reflect an endorsement by the fire department.

Hold Joe Biden to the same standard and he's out of a job.

Leave the twit alone. Maybe he's learned something. If he hasn't, it's no ones business but his own.

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