MODESTO (CBS13) – A controversial meme spotted on social media for years is making new rounds following recent unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers in Minnesota. The image shows a cartoon drawing of a pickup truck driving through stick figures with the words “All Lives Splatter” across the top and “Nobody cares about your protest” along the bottom.
The meme was posted on social media by a battalion chief with the West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District and a firefighter with the Modesto Fire Department.
Waterford Councilmember Lise Talbott says a community member came to her outraged and wanting something done.
“It was multiple firefighters from multiple fire departments. So that really spoke to the culture that may exist within our fire departments locally,” said Talbott.
Chief Jeff Gregory with the West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District says the Battalion Chief who posted the meme is on paid leave and will have to go through diversity training.
“We’re well known, we’re well-liked, a lot of us have been around a long time. It in no way represents the fire department or any fire department’s feelings,” said Chief Gregory.
Modesto Fire Chief Alan Ernst wouldn’t comment on camera but did issue this statement to CBS13: “Our greatest asset as members of public safety is public trust. We hold ourselves to high moral and ethical standards. We are taking this matter very seriously and conducting an investigation.”
“I think it’s unacceptable from any standpoint. I’m surprised it was allowed to be on there. We’ve all learned a lesson, I hope we’ve all learned a lesson. I know he did and he regrets what he did,” said Chief Gregory.
Talbott says she hopes to see more than consequences. She wants a solution so it doesn’t happen again.
“When we know that that a person has a position of authority or a position of privilege or has been trusted to protect the public, it’s our duty to say, ‘hey this isn’t right’,” said Talbott.