Racial Overtones at Southport Fire Station

Three Southport firefighters are officially out of work, fired Friday by Bay County Manager Ed Smith.

Smith upheld a staff recommendation to terminate the employment of Henry Miller, Robert Trey Broedge and Gerald Merritt for allegedly making racists remarks and carrying out harassing activities.

The firings came as a result of a county investigation into complaints about the white firefighters repeatedly using racial slurs, playing anti-black music at the firehouse and giving a black firefighter a racially derogatory nickname.

Someone also painted a racial slur on the rear truck window of a white firefighter who was perceived as being sympathetic to blacks.

The county manager cited the racial slurs, the nickname and violations of the county’s smoking policies as cause for dismissal.

In addition to the three fired Friday, Southport Fire Chief Lynn Taylor and volunteer firefighter Daniel Johnson were dismissed last month in connection with the same investigation.