Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings apologized on Wednesday after retweeting a controversial photo of him posing with three men wearing sombreros and comical, fake mustaches.
The photo was taken June 6 at the Hope for Firefighters event in downtown Los Angeles, a fundraiser where firefighters cooked food and some participated in a costume contest.
In addition to the wide-brimmed hats and fake facial hair, the three other men were wearing LAFD shirts. The group stood in front of a taco stand for the photo op.
The photo has since been removed from the fire chief’s Twitter page, as well as from the original poster’s account. Critics said the photo perpetuated racial stereotypes.
“I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity or disrespect to anyone offended by posing for the photo from the Hope for Firefighters event,” Cummings posted on his Twitter account.
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Jacqueline Zarate, first vice president of the Los Angeles City Employees Chicano Association, requested that Cummings publicly apologize on his Twitter account at a Fire Commission meeting on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LAFD spokesman and Battalion Chief Armando Hogan expressed “sincere regret” about the photo and its ramifications.
“The chief plans to meet with community members so that we establish a dialogue so that situations like this do not happen again,” Hogan told CBS.
According to the Times, competing booths at the fundraising event included the Top Gun, Hawaiian Islands and Duck Dynasty themes.