Manhattan Dem lawmaker demands East Village fire house take down 'red line' American flag honoring firefighters killed on 9/11 after local complains it is 'fascist symbol'

A constituent had complained multiple times that the flag was a "fascist symbol."

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
Manhattan Democrat lawmaker Councilwoman Carlina Rivera ordered East Village firefighters to take down its "thin red line" flag which had been installed to honor firefighters who were killed on 9/11.

A constituent had complained multiple times that the flag was a "fascist symbol" and went against the official FDNY code, which states that "altered" versions of the American flag are prohibited.

The New York Post reports that FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Schiralli visited Ladder Co. 11 and reluctantly demanded that the flag be removed. However, the order sparked mass outrage on social media, and the flag was allowed to be reinstalled.

The order came after an email from Councilwoman Carlina Rivera's Office was forwarded to FDNY's Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator on March 19 inquiring about the flag and asking if it violated department policy. The staffer explained that a constituent had complained about it on numerous occasions.

Rivera staffer Lisander Rosario wrote in the email, obtained by NYP: "[FDNY staff] claimed it was to honor deceased firefighters, however, [the constituent] brought up that they could’ve used an FDNY flag rather than a politically charged symbol."

"It is to both his and our understanding that private political symbols aren't permitted to be displayed on public vehicles," she continued.

"Can you confirm if there are any violating flags/symbols on Ladder 11?" added Rosario.

On March 22, just three days after the email, FDNY Deputy Chief Schiralli ordered the flag's removal but told the firefighters that he thought the request was "ridiculous," per the outlet.

The policy was put in place by Commissioner Daniel Nigro and First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh during the height of the anti-police Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020.

Conservative commentator Rogan O'Handley posted a picture of the flag with the caption, "NY firefighters were forced to take down a memorial for those that died on 9/11," in response to the order, which immediately caused fury on social media. "What's happened to NYC?" he added.

A few hours later, the flag was allowed to return to the truck after Commissioner Kavanagh and Chief of Department John Hodgens reversed the policy.

Ladder Company 11 was using the flag to honor firefighters Michael Cammarata, Edward Day, John Hefferman, Richard Kelly Jr., and Matthew Rogan—all of whom lost their lives responding to the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—with a memorial placard on the back of their fire truck, which is accompanied by a red line flag.

"We're happy with the outcome of this — but we're offended it happened in the first place," said a Ladder 11 firefighter, according to the outlet.
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