The son of an Orange County Assistant Fire Chief who used an axe with a Confederate flag painted on it at the burned out home of a black man has been suspended. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Holton’s son, Johnathan, admitted he painted the sign onto the axe. Holton said it was symbolic of his devotion to family and hard work, and denied any claim that he was a racist. Holton claims he was just touching the axe up with the design. He seemed unfamiliar with the Confederate flag as a symbol of bigotry.
The axe’s existence was made public as a result of an investigation by the Orange County Fire Chief, Otto Drozd, centered on “a culture of entitlement at his busiest fire station.” The resulting report says it is “startling” that no one ever noticed the flag on the axe, even after regular and routine equipment checks.
Holton’s boss doesn’t seem to buy that explanation.
“Either they knew and did nothing, or they should have known and come forward and stopped it,” said Chief Drozd. “That’s the expectation I have of all my officers.”
The axe was discovered and reported by a fire fighter from another company to a supervisor. He then removed the axe before the home owner found it.
Chief Drozd says the incident has exposed a climate of entitlement in his busiest fire station and will be remedied by splitting up the men. More than half the staff will be transferred to new locations.
See the full story here from WFTV.