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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The City of Rochester has reached a settlement with a firefighter who said his captain took him to a party that mocked Juneteenth while he was on duty.

The firefighter, Jerrod Jones, decided not to return to his role in the Rochester Fire Department. The city will pay him $150,000, half now and half upon retirement.

The lawsuit that Jones filed described a party at an East Avenue home in July 2022 that used old tropes like buckets of fried chicken to make fun of Juneteenth, a holiday to commemorate liberation from slavery.

The lawsuit also said there were photos of local liberal politicians with stakes through them throughout the yard. The couple that threw the party said in a news conference that some the depictions in the lawsuit were false.

A joint statement from Jones and the city says that the department is moving forward under the new leadership of Chief Stefano Napolitano. Here is the new statement:

“On July 7, 2022, Jerrod Jones was a Firefighter working Truck #4 for the Rochester Fire Department.
On that day, he and other firefighters on Truck #4 were taken to a private event at a residence on East Avenue, in accordance with the wishes and direction of the newly assigned Captain of Truck #4. While this event was within Truck# 4’s district, it was wholly inappropriate for the Captain to have taken the firefighters of Truck #4 to this event on-duty. This event involved wholly inappropriate political and racial overtones.”

“Following this event, Firefighter Jones commenced suit against the City of Rochester asserting various claims stemming from this incident. Today the parties are pleased to announce that this lawsuit has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”

“As part of this resolution, Mr. Jones has elected not to return to his duties as a firefighter. This was Mr. Jones’s decision and the City is respectful of his choice. The City wishes Mr. Jones the very best in his future endeavors and thanks him for his years of service to the City and its citizens.”

“The parties express their appreciation to each other for their respective efforts which led to this mutually satisfactory settlement as Mr. Jones moves forward positively and so too does the Rochester Fire Department under the leadership and direction of Chief Napolitano.”