The FDNY is being criticized for hiring a recruit who had previously been in trouble for racist tweets.
A protest was held Monday outside the department's headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn, after it was revealed that 28-year-old Joseph Cassano, the son of former commissioner Salvatore Cassano, is about to begin training to become a city firefighter.
Those who attended the protest said Joseph Cassano is a bigot and not fit to serve.
He resigned from his post as an EMT back in 2013 for issuing racist and anti-Semitic tweets:
"I like Jews about as much as Hitler #toofar? nope," said a Joseph Cassano tweet, which Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams read at the protest.
"He can't be trusted," said Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network, which organized the protest. "What if he goes into a burning building and has to make a decision between his life and the life of an African American or the life of a Jewish person?"
"That's an unacceptable situation to have a victim put in, and we can't rely on the words of others to sanitize this man's own words," Foy continued.
Joseph Cassano apologized at the time, saying, "These tasteless comments do not reflect the person my parents raised me to be."
His father then quietly arranged for Cassano to be counseled by a New Jersey rabbi, Steven Burg.
Burg told NY1 that he met with the younger Cassano a handful of times, brought him to the Museum of Tolerance, and had him speak with a Holocaust survivor.
"It seemed to me that he seemed pretty contrite, he seemed — like he felt bad," Burg said in a phone interview.
The EMS rehired Joseph Cassano two years ago.
Cassano is set to join the FDNY Academy next Monday. According to the fire department's eligibility requirements, candidates must demonstrate proof of good character.
The FDNY issued a statement saying, "EMT Cassano has passed all requirements for promotion to Firefighter and is scheduled to enter the upcoming probationary Firefighter class."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believes in redemption. "If someone does something wrong and then they fix it and they don't recur, they still should have a right to pursue their career," de Blasio said. "That being said, if there's any further incident, it will be dealt with very harshly."
Neither Joseph Cassano nor his father responded to a request for comment.