Connect with us

Wire

Black Ex-Firefighter Looking at $30,000 Payout from City After a Mural Artist Got Her Skin Tone Wrong

Western Journal

Published

on

Mistakes were made, feelings were hurt, but everything was made right in the end — so does the victim still deserve $30,000 from taxpayers?

That’s the question being raised as ex-firefighter Latosha Clemons, a black woman, is suing because her likeness did not reflect her proper skin color in a mural that was commissioned to honor Boynton Beach, Florida, firefighters, according to The Washington Post.

Clemons joined the Boynton Beach fire department more than 25 years ago and climbed the ranks to become deputy chief before retiring to a position as fire chief in Forest Park, Georgia.

She was the first black female firefighter and the first black person to become deputy chief, distinctions that originally had her likeness included in the plans for the mural announced in November 2019.

take our poll - story continues below

Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?

  • Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

But when it was unveiled in June 2020, the artwork was problematic to Clemons because it depicted her with a bright grayscale face instead of her natural darker skin tone.

Now she has accused Boynton Beach of libel, defamation and negligence because it “reflected her as a White member of the city fire department,” according to her lawsuit filed this year in April and amended in September.

The complaint said that the choice in pigments “disrespected all that the first female Black firefighter for the city had accomplished.”

“By allowing the mural to depict Clemons as someone of a completely different race, White, a race the city presumably felt better fit the image it was looking to project.”

Clemons personally spoke about the racial implications of the color choices for the mural.

“After providing the city of Boynton Beach with a lifetime of professional fire service, to be whitewashed and not memorialized for who I am will forever live with me,” Clemons told the Post in a statement through her attorney.

“As the first and only black woman in the department, I deserved the respect I earned on a daily basis serving the citizens of Boynton Beach and deserved to be recognized for who I am: a black woman.”

City Manager Lori LaVerriere fired Boynton Beach public arts manager Debby Coles-Dobay, who was responsible for the design, and removed from his position Chief Matthew Petty, who allegedly requested changes to the mural.

The rationale was that changes to the faces would be done to make them more generic and not identifiable, but LaVerriere said the tweaks “went way too far.”

The first iteration did admittedly make it look like a completely different person in Clemons’ place, but the piece was immediately taken down and fixed in November 2020 to reflect Clemons’ correct skin tone.

Coupled with the dismissals, this should have been sufficient to remedy the problem. “It is my intent to take all steps necessary to achieve justice,” Clemons promised, however.

It’s not that Clemons doesn’t have a right to be at least a bit upset, of course. The depiction of her with two female firefighters comes from an actual photo, and she has a point that her likeness was the most altered.

However, the pigment appears to have been a style choice more so than a racial consideration, as all of the faces had the same monochrome appearance.

So why would Clemons seek thousands of dollars in damages?

Often, these judgments are part restorative and part punitive, so it makes sense to teach the city a lesson, especially if this is a continuation of the long history of racial division in the South.

Without actual evidence of malicious intent, however, it seems egregious to take thousands of taxpayer dollars for a problem that ultimately was rectified in the end anyway — though her lawsuit may end up being the impetus for such revelations if they do exist.

But the waters have been muddied because of the racial climate in the U.S., now making it so every person who is overlooked or slighted — who also happens to also be a minority — feels a grave injustice has taken place rather than a mundane annoyance that is part of life.

What’s missing today is the notion of charity, assuming the good in others with the hope that others will assume the good in you.

Maybe there were rabid racists who wanted Clemons’ achievements erased from history, but there’s also a chance it was simply was a case of tweaking a design for a certain aesthetic that notably included nobody’s true pigment.

If Clemons is correct that she was targeted and purposely whitewashed, then she deserves to have her day in court and even her hefty payday — but without that evidence, this would be nothing more than another taxpayer shakedown.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Wire

Stranger Saves Teen Hit by Car, Then Disappears After Rescue

Western Journal

Published

on

Lily Irigoyen, 14, from Escondido, California, was headed to Westfield North County Mall with a friend to do some shopping on May 23 when Irigoyen’s life was turned upside down.

As she was crossing a street — using a crosswalk — a driver failed to stop at a stop sign and hit the teenager. She immediately blacked out.

Two other drivers saw what had happened and raced to help. Police later said that a female good Samaritan called 911 and contacted Irigoyen’s family using her cell phone, and a man performed CPR on the teen’s lifeless body — an act that would later turn out to have made all the difference.

The girl’s mother, Isabel Torres, remembers getting the call that broke her heart.



take our poll - story continues below

Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?

  • Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

“Her dad called me that she was in an accident and she was airlifted to the hospital,” she told KNSD.

Irigoyen had suffered a long list of serious injuries, including a damaged kidney, a broken arm, a broken leg, a broken hip and a punctured lung. Worst of all, she had also suffered a brain injury.

For three weeks, the teen was in a coma. Even after coming out of it, she had to stay at the hospital for six months, recovering. She finally made it home in August, and her mom has hope that she will recover.

“We’re getting there,” Torres told KNSD. “With time, I think she’s going to get better and better.”

Police later said that, while the driver who hit the teen was determined to be at fault, no criminal charges were made.

After a recent checkup, Irigoyen has a new goal: To find and thank the good Samaritan who saved her life.

“The doctor told her that everything that happened and she mentioned that, thanks to the person that assisted at the accident with the CPR, she always had air to her brain and for that main reason, they saved her life,” Torres explained.

“I just like felt, like happy, just the fact that someone had that kindness in their heart to help me was nice,” Irigoyen added. “I just want to say how grateful I am … that they helped me and that I’m alive now because of them.”



The man is believed to be a dental surgeon, according to KGTV, though he has not yet been identified or stepped forward.

“I think they’re angels,” a teary Torres told KGTV. “God put them there for a reason … I think it’s a great time to find them, and tell them what a great thing they did … What they did was just amazing.”

“They saved me!” said Irigoyen. “They’re the reason I’m here right now … I would just hug them. No words to express how thankful I am.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Lily Irigoyen, 14, from Escondido, California, was headed to Westfield North County Mall with a friend to do some shopping on May 23 when Irigoyen’s life was turned upside down. As she was crossing a street — using a crosswalk — a driver failed to stop at a stop sign and hit the teenager. She immediately blacked out. Two other drivers saw what had happened and raced to help. Police later said that a female good Samaritan called 911 and contacted Irigoyen’s family using her cell phone, and a man performed CPR on the teen’s lifeless body — an act that would later turn out to have made all the difference. The girl’s mother, Isabel Torres, remembers getting the call that broke her heart. “Her dad called me that she was in an accident and she was airlifted to the hospital,” she told KNSD. Irigoyen had suffered a long list of serious injuries, including a damaged kidney, a broken arm, a broken leg, a broken hip and a punctured lung. Worst of all, she had also suffered a brain injury. For three weeks, the teen was in a coma. Even after coming out of it, she had to stay at the hospital for six months, recovering. She finally made it home in August, and her mom has hope that she will recover. “We’re getting there,” Torres told KNSD. “With time, I think she’s going to get better and better.” Police later said that, while the driver who hit the teen was determined to be at fault, no criminal charges were made. After a recent checkup, Irigoyen has a new goal: To find and thank the good Samaritan who saved her life. “The doctor told her that everything that happened and she mentioned that, thanks to the person that…

Continue Reading

Wire

Brian Laundrie’s Parents Flee Florida Home as ‘For Sale’ Sign Appears Outside

Western Journal

Published

on

Brian Laundrie’s parents may be looking for a new place to live after weeks of scrutiny on the couple.

Their North Port, Florida, home now has a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard, according to the New York Post.

The house became the site of a media circus, with outlets looking for answers in the death of Laundrie’s fiancee Gabby Petito and the whereabouts of Laundrie himself.

Petito’s remains were found at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Laundrie was found dead at the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida in October.

take our poll - story continues below

Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?

  • Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Laundrie’s lawyer announced that he had died by suicide, with a gunshot wound to the head.

As for Chris and Roberta Laundrie, rumors ran rampant that they knew the whereabouts of their son, who was the sole murder suspect in Petito’s death.

The Post reported that neighbors took advantage of the Laundrie couple having the spotlight, with some even renting their front yards to media outlets for up to $3,500 a week in order to pester the pair around the clock.

No charges have been filed against the parents, but their “lack of cooperation” at times during the investigation may have created unnecessary obstacles, according to a North Port police spokesman last month.

According to WNBC-TV, authorities mistook Roberta Laundrie for her son as she drove his Mustang home at the beginning of the manhunt, a move viewed as part of the parents’ resistance to complying fully with investigators early on.

“Other than confusion, it likely changed nothing. We just wanted people to better understand why we thought we knew Brian was in his home,” North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said Oct. 29, the outlet reported.

The family’s attorney, Steve Bertolino, has remained firm that his clients fully complied with the investigation, but was talking with law enforcement in November, WFLA-TV reported.

Still, there is no indication as of now that the parents will have charges against them.

If the couple decides to leave their home, they might want to consider changing their names and buying fake mustaches to protect their identity.

Based on the attitude of their current neighbors, it would not be surprising if they were met with hostility wherever they choose to move.

For now, the toughest task will be finding a new owner for the property, which has now become a symbol for one of the most highly followed crime stories of the century.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Brian Laundrie’s parents may be looking for a new place to live after weeks of scrutiny on the couple. Their North Port, Florida, home now has a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard, according to the New York Post. The house became the site of a media circus, with outlets looking for answers in the death of Laundrie’s fiancee Gabby Petito and the whereabouts of Laundrie himself. Petito’s remains were found at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Laundrie was found dead at the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida in October. Laundrie’s lawyer announced that he had died by suicide, with a gunshot wound to the head. As for Chris and Roberta Laundrie, rumors ran rampant that they knew the whereabouts of their son, who was the sole murder suspect in Petito’s death. The Post reported that neighbors took advantage of the Laundrie couple having the spotlight, with some even renting their front yards to media outlets for up to $3,500 a week in order to pester the pair around the clock. No charges have been filed against the parents, but their “lack of cooperation” at times during the investigation may have created unnecessary obstacles, according to a North Port police spokesman last month. According to WNBC-TV, authorities mistook Roberta Laundrie for her son as she drove his Mustang home at the beginning of the manhunt, a move viewed as part of the parents’ resistance to complying fully with investigators early on. “Other than confusion, it likely changed nothing. We just wanted people to better understand why we thought we knew Brian was in his home,” North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said Oct. 29, the outlet reported. The family’s attorney, Steve Bertolino, has remained firm that his clients fully complied with the investigation, but was…

Continue Reading
The Schaftlein Report

Latest Articles

Best of the Week