Firefighter Sues After He's Told He Can't Be On Color Guard Because He's White

FDNY Lt. Daniel McWilliams was told he couldn't serve on honor guard at two events honoring fallen black firefighters.

New York, NY – A veteran member of the New York fire department’s color guard filed a lawsuit after he was told he couldn’t participate in a memorial service for members of an organization of black firefighters.

The incident occurred when Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Lieutenant Daniel McWilliams arrived to serve as a flag bearer at the Nov. 19, 2017 memorial Mass for the Vulcan Society, an organization of black FDNY firefighters, the New York Daily News reported.

Lt. McWilliams, a 29-year veteran of the fire department, is one of the three firefighters pictured in the iconic photo of FDNY raising an American flag shortly after the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

He was assigned to the ceremonial unit at the time of the incident, but when he arrived at St. Philips Episcopal Church in Harlem for the service honoring deceased Vulcan Society members, he was told his services weren’t wanted, the New York Daily News reported.

“Lieutenant, I specifically requested an all-black color guard,” Regina Wilson, then-president of the Vulcan Society, told Lt. McWilliams, according to the lawsuit.

“Are you removing me from the color guard because I am not black?” Lt. McWilliams asked.

“Yes I am,” Wilson replied.

Lt. McWilliams said Wilson ordered him to “go outside” and perform “lesser duties” such as gathering the attendees for the service, the New York Post reported.

The exchange was overheard by friends and colleagues of the lieutenant, the New York Daily News reported.

The lawsuit said that Lt. McWilliams left the church after his friends overheard “racially-charged exchanges” in order “to save himself from further shame, humiliation and embarrassment," according to FOX News.

The lieutenant has alleged in his lawsuit that the incident was a part of a “consistent practice of… retaliatory racism, particularly towards white members of the FDNY Ceremonial Unit,” the New York Post reported.

Lt. McWilliams’ suit pointed to another incident that occurred in February of 2017 when Wilson told him and seven other white members of the color guard that they couldn’t be in a picture with the family of a fallen firefighter at the dedication of a library in his name.

After the incident at Mass, the FDNY’s Equal Opportunity Employment Office investigated and found that Wilson had claimed she had the power to boot white firefighters off the color guard at will, the New York Daily News reported.

The lawsuit included a letter from the Equal Opportunity Employment Office that concluded “there was sufficient, credible… evidence to find that [McWilliams] was excluded from the Ceremonial Unit color guard on account of his race,” the New York Post reported.

But the FDNY Bureau of Legal Affairs has argued that Lt. McWilliams dismissal from the color guard was a non-discriminatory “subtle exclusion,” according to the New York Daily News.

“I wonder how many lawyers it took in the FDNY Legal Department to come up with that clever term. I’m embarrassed for them,” Keith Sullivan, attorney for McWilliams, told the New York Post.

Sullivan said that FDNY took no action after McWilliams’ complaint was deemed credible except to tell Wilson “she shouldn’t do that.”

“If roles were reversed, my white, male client would be removed from the unit and probably be on the unemployment line today,” the attorney said.

The lawsuit accused FDNY of “once again turning a blind eye to discrimination and creating a double-standard within the FDNY,” FOX News reported.

McWilliams has sued for compensation and punitive damages from the FDNY, Vulcan Society, Regina Wilson and the city of New York, the New York Daily News reported.

Comments (45)
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Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Black privilege?

MasterGuns
MasterGuns

Just wondering. Members of a special brotherhood are usually bound by a close bond. One definition of integrity is the state of being whole and undivided. Accordingly, I question the integrity of the rest of the members of the Color Guard.

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

So.....guess certain members of the FDNY are not of the usual opinion that all who wear the uniform aren't the same ?? Ya ok...no matter if we be EMS, Fire, Police, or Corrections, we all bleed RED . DISCRIMINATION, no matter by whom, is illegal, immoral and unethical. I hope his suit goes forward and he wins !

Grandmoi
Grandmoi

People who scream "racism" the loudest are frequently the ones guilty of keeping it alive and well by their own behaviors....Ms. Wilson et al are prime examples

Woobie46
Woobie46

CIVIL SUITS MATTER! I LOVE this story. Good for the white guy standing up for HIS rights...this is exactly what the "other side" does to white on a constant and continuing basis, so turnabout... And that woman, I hope she loses everything. She deserves to after humiliating this long time FDNY employee. She is the racist.

GingerSnap
GingerSnap

When I first started reading this story, I had to do a double-take and make sure I wasn't reading something from the "BabylonBee" website. This is ridiculous, and I hope the firefighter wins his case and proves that racist actions committed by anyone are wrong and that the perpetrators will be subject to consequences for their actions.

Jaydenmyboy
Jaydenmyboy

The sad part of this whole story Is here you have a veteran brother looking to stand and honor another brother ,not black not white not yellow but another brother and he is told hes not Good enough.

Janken
Janken

Oh yes the left are trying to get rid of our white boys and men. ASSHOLES CALL IT WHITE PRIVILEGE. Bs. When the others grow up and become good citizens they can be on anything they like. I love every race if they are strong good people who has a family that teaches them not to be bad and hateful

Marxest
Marxest

That's a difficult one. I guess he has a legitimate grievance. It reminds me of the time when my application to the Sons of Confederate Veterans because I wasn't fully white. That was so wrong....

Janken
Janken

What the hell. Black caucus, black miss America. BLACK history month. BLACK THIS BLACK THAT. I thought they wanted racism to stop but comes out they are more racist than anyone

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

What I don’t understand is why would there be a separate “black organization” for firefighters? If those types of “organizations” are created, then don’t fucking get butt hurt when you get singled out because you’ve already done it to yourselves. And above it all, Firefighters? Really? Police, Fire, Medical, we all need to work together no matter what color we are so why would such an organization even exist? Let the opposite happen and all he’ll would break loose and protests and such.

Golobki
Golobki

So the " civil rights" advocates who marched for desegregation and equality now demand the very segregation they claim to have fought against.

Dra71
Dra71

What is next Ms. Wilson, your Vulcan members can only save or back-up Black firefighters? There should be NO separate groups by race in any organization or especially in politics i.e., The Congressional Black Causes, etc. Groups like these is what keeps the division of this country going.

NomonK
NomonK

Vindictive Racism is Still Racism. It really upsets me when those that have had to endure racism of the past and understand how painful it was can then say it's OK to perpetuate in on others. Admit that there are RACIST OF ANY COLOR.

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

Thank you Lt. McWilliams for your service, you represent the best of all of us. I hope you prevail in your lawsuit and this racist bigot is removed from her position as she represent the worse of human beings. SHAME on the FDNY for not taking ation and for that embarrassing statement regarding her actions.

Mic911
Mic911

Question...is this Wilson woman a FDNY firefighter? If not boot her ass out of there! White, black, hispanic or other when you throw on that bunker gear and/or uniform for any reason there should be no color barrier at all !!!!! You are brothers and sisters in for the same reason, the Thin Red Line!! Hope he wins a few million!

Toaster_Man
Toaster_Man

Good, who really cares if one of the affirmative action frauds dies

Stanracer
Stanracer

But black people are allowed to be racist, don't ya know!👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎☹

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Woohoo!! Yes, finally someone filing a racism lawsuit against blacks!! I hope he wins millions and ruins the Vulcan Society and Regina Wilson!! They should be ashamed of themselves!!!

tfort
tfort

Sounds like he is just looking to make trouble and then turn it into “free money”.

No. 26-27
Justgail
Justgail

As a nation we seem to have taken a large step backwards only this time black and white have reversed roles. The new segregation confuses the older generation who fought so hard for equality.

speevo
speevo

That just carries the term "Colored" Guard too far.