Reports of Racial Tensions, Conflict Over NFL Protests Lead to L.A. Fire Chief’s Letter About ‘Divisive’ Workplace Incidents

The Los Angeles Fire Department has experienced a series of “divisive” workplace incidents in recent months, including at least one debate between firefighters over protests by NFL players, according to a letter to the agency’s employees.

Ralph Terrazas, fire chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, speaks at an unknown location in 2015 while standing alongside City Councilman Jose Huizar. (Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Ralph Terrazas, fire chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, speaks at an unknown location in 2015 while standing alongside City Councilman Jose Huizar. (Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

In a two-page letter posted Friday, Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said his agency has experienced “on-duty heated discussions regarding the perception of a lack of patriotism by NFL players” who have kneeled during the national anthem.

In a separate incident, firefighters from different ethnic backgrounds had a “near physical altercation” after someone showed up late to work, Terrazas wrote. In yet another, the department received complaints about “a perceived lack of sensitivity” toward non-white firefighters during an investigation.

“These types of issues and incidents are divisive and can erode our ability to accomplish our collective mission to protect the lives and property of the people of Los Angeles,” the chief said in his letter.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.