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Orlando firefighter accused of making racist remarks

Fellow firefighter's claim sparks investigation

ORLANDO, Fla. – A veteran Orlando firefighter has been cited for racist comments he allegedly made to a fellow firefighter.

A Hispanic co-worker claims the comments were directed at him by engineer Robert Goldenberg during a break at a training program on May 6.

"He stated, 'To make this place better, you need to take your people, put them in two containers and ship them back to where they came from,'" the firefighter told a department investigator.

He said the comments continued after he left the room.

"I had to go, I believe the restroom," the firefighter told investigators. "And he turned around and expressed to the class or a group of people, 'That's the way you take care of Puerto Ricans. You make them leave the room.'"

Other firefighters heard the comments made by Goldenberg, and said they were also offended and they testified as part of the internal fire department investigation.

Goldenberg, an 18-year veteran of the Orlando Fire Department, was accused of violating the department's civility rule, which requires firefighters to be civil, orderly and courteous.

During the investigation, Goldenberg claimed he didn't remember saying anything racist.

When investigators asked him if he had any issues with people of different cultures or races, he said, "I see everybody as just whatever you present. I see you as what you present."

Last week, Fire Department investigators finalized their report and sustained the allegations against Goldenberg.

His punishment, a verbal reprimand, was far less that some people would have liked to see.


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