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Miami Beach Investigator Rejects Fire Recruit's Claims of Tea-Bagging, Racial Discrimination

Two months ago, New Times broke news of Miami Beach Fire Department recruit Brian Gentles's allegations that fellow firemen had sexually and racially harassed him. He accused another recruit of tea-bagging him and superiors of covering up the abuse.

But a report released yesterday by an outside investigator hired by the City of Miami Beach shot down Gentles's claims. "So many people categorically denied the accusations made against them and others so as to call to question whether there was any factual basis for the charges," wrote investigator Steven Schwarzberg.

Gentles is now questioning the report's impartiality.

See also:
- Miami Beach Fire Dept. Recruit Claims He Was Tea-Bagged, Racially Abused, And Fired For Complaining
- Brian Gentles, Tea-Bagged Miami Beach Fire Recruit, Says He Is Going On Hunger Strike


Gentles could not be reached for comment late last night, but he told the Miami Herald that Schwarzberg shouldn't be considered independent because he was paid by the city.

Fire Chief Javier Otero, meanwhile, told the newspaper that he was "just glad the report is finally out" and that "hopefully it speaks for itself."

Under the conditions of a $100,000 settlement Gentles signed this fall, he is scheduled to return to work as a fire inspector for just 19-months beginning in January.

Gentles is not the first to complain of racism within the department. Back in 1991, the Department of Justice determined the City had discriminated against black and Hispanic job applicants.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.


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