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A black firefighter is suing the city of Florida for depicting her as a white woman in the city’s mural

Last year, a Florida city painted a mural which depicted a Black firefighter as white based on a complaint by a black firefighter.

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Credit: Andrew Gaines

Last year, a Florida city painted a mural which depicted a Black firefighter as white based on a complaint by a black firefighter.

According to CNN, Latosha Clemons is seeking $100,000 for her lawsuit, which is a result of an April lawsuit she filed against the City of Boynton Beach. According to her, she suffered mental distress after seeing that image as well as humiliation and ridicule. This painting was created as a memorial to her and to honor other city fire fighters for their contributions. The complaint states that it “reflected her position of being a White member of the City Fire Department.”

Clemons is suing on behalf of the City of Boynton Beach following what according to a second amended complaint filed last month, “a defamatory statement made by the City regarding her race and/or the failure to properly oversee an approved use of her likeness.”

A mural containing an image that Clemons authorized used was approved by the City Art Commission, reportedly in November 2019. “When the mural was presented at the unveiling on June 3, 2020, it did not depict Clemons as the Black member of the department. In the complaint, it was altered to reflect her as a member of the city Fire Department who was white.

“To portray Clemons as white was not only a false representation of her, but also a mischaracterization that completely ignored all that she had accomplished as the city’s first female Black firefighter,” the suit stated.

Not only was Clemons depicted by the image as white, but former Boynton fire chief Glenn Joseph was also portrayed white. Boynton Beach’s city manager fired Debby Coles-Dobay, the city’s public art manager, for backlash the day after the mural was revealed and the day after it was removed from display.

In Coles-Dobay’s statement, she claimed that the city and Fire Chief’s Office pressured her into making the mural that way. An official from the city will meet with Clemons on Nov. 30 to discuss mediation.

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