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Florida Firefighter Returns to Work Despite Controversial Nazi Salute Photo

Months after a picture of a firefighter wearing a mustache and performing a Nazi salute surfaced in April, prompting an investigation, he has returned to work after the city determined the photo had no antisemitic intent.

The city of Melbourne said the photograph of Melbourne battalion chief Jody Kahler under scrutiny was taken 16 years ago.

The Jewish firefighter, Aaron Starkey, who initially filed the complaint against Kahler said it didn’t matter when the picture was taken because the battalion chief is still working for the city.

The city said Kahler was put on leave upon receipt of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, but now that a portion of the investigation has been completed, he has returned to duty.

Starkey’s attorney Daniel Perez shared the offensive picture of his client’s supervisor in April.

The city of Melbourne said it found the old picture was inappropriate, showing extremely poor judgement and a lack of sensitivity, but those who were involved back in 2007, “were not intentionally acting with any kind of racist or antisemitic intent or bias.”

A new statement from the city goes on to read that Kahler has never been involved in discriminatory or harassing conduct. Additionally, the city said his picture was not found to be widely shared within the fire department, as Starkey’s attorney argued. “It had been circulating among the upper echelons of the department as a joke or as a poor gesture in my estimation,” Perez said in April.

Source: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2023/06/23/melbourne-firefighter-investigated-for-nazi-salute-photo-returns-to-work/