Crystal Eschert has been a commended fire investigator for the Charlotte Fire Department of Charlotte, North Carolina, for the last four-and-a-half years.
However, after she posted comments on her personal Facebook page regarding the Ferguson case, Eschert was fired from her job. She seems to think officials used her Ferguson comments as an excuse to fire her.
On her Facebook page, Eschert wrote, in part, “If you are a thug and worthless to society, it’s not your race, you’re just a waste no matter what religion, race or sex you are.” The fire department and city manager's office determined those posts constituted fireable offenses.
Eschert thinks something else played a role in her being terminated, though.
Earlier this year, she claimed the building her department was moving into was unsafe.
"There was an elevator that went from the basement up and it was wooden,” she told WSOC-TV. "And when we went in the spring, it didn't want to work too well. So we had to jump to make it function."
Charlotte City Council member Claire Fallon heard about Eschert’s concerns and agreed the building was unsafe.
“I saw wires hanging down,” Fallon said. “Whether they were phone wires or electric wires, I didn’t feel at that point it was safe — absolutely not."
A mere week later, Eschert was fired for her social media comments.
According to Charlotte’s social media policy, employees are prohibited from posting remarks that “are defamatory, vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating, harassing or in violation of the City’s policies against discrimination, harassment or hostility based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, political affiliation or on the basis of actual or perceived gender expression.”
City manager Ron Carlee stood by his decision to fire Eschert. He said her Facebook posts were “in conflict with our responsibility to serve all members of the community. A city employee cannot label members of a community as ‘a thug’ and ‘worthless to society’ and ‘a waste.’”
Renovations on the new office will be done by next week, and Fire Chief Jon Hannan has requested a third-party review of his department.