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FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has been branded a ‘fascist pit bull’ after announcing plans to seek out the unruly firefighters who booed New York Attorney-General Letitia James as she gave a speech earlier this week.

James was speaking at a New York Fire Department promotion ceremony on Thursday when the jeers began before she even took the stage. 

The firefighters shouted Donald Trump’s name as James appealed for calm from those gathered at the Christian Cultural Center’s Brooklyn Campus.

But it appears those behind the chanting may not get away with it if Fire Department chiefs have anything to do with it.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens sent an email to department leaders warning of an impending investigation by the Bureau of Investigation and Trials (BITS) into the booing and ‘Trump’ chants directed at James. 

The FDNY is investigating after New York Attorney-General Letitia James was booed by unruly firefighters who shouted Donald Trump's name as she gave a speech on Thursday

The FDNY is investigating after New York Attorney-General Letitia James was booed by unruly firefighters who shouted Donald Trump’s name as she gave a speech on Thursday

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has been branded a 'fascist pit bull' after announcing plans to seek out the unruly firefighters who booed New York Attorney-General Letitia James as she gave a speech earlier this week

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has been branded a ‘fascist pit bull’ after announcing plans to seek out the unruly firefighters who booed New York Attorney-General Letitia James as she gave a speech earlier this week

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens sent an email to department leaders on Saturday warning of an impending investigation by the Bureau of Investigation and Trials (BITS) into the booing and 'Trump' chants directed at James

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens sent an email to department leaders on Saturday warning of an impending investigation by the Bureau of Investigation and Trials (BITS) into the booing and ‘Trump’ chants directed at James

Hodgens has urged those involved to come forward voluntarily to avoid being pursued by the department which is currently reviewing video footage of the entire ceremony.

‘BITS is investigating this, so they will figure out who the members are,’ Hodges wrote to FDNY chiefs on Saturday.

‘I recommend they come forward. I have been told by the commissioner it will be better for them if they come forward and we don’t have to hunt them down,’ he urged.

‘The [deputy chiefs] shall direct the captain of the company to make a list of those who come forward and send it directly to [FDNY operations]. I realize members might not come forward but they should know that there is clear video of the entire incident and they will be contacted by BITS if they don’t,’ he wrote. 

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association also warned its members on Saturday of the plan noting how the department was in ‘possession of video footage of the event.’

‘As part of this discussion, questions may be asked to specific UFOA members over their actions or their recollections,’ the message said.

James had been invited to speak at the event, which was held to honor The Rev. Pamela Holmes, the department’s second female chaplain and the first black woman to hold that title. 

‘Come on, we’re in a house of God… simmer down… thank you for getting it out of your system,’ James said, before beginning her speech.   

Laura Kavanagh FDNY commissioner is the first woman to lead New York City's Fire Department in its history

Laura Kavanagh FDNY commissioner is the first woman to lead New York City’s Fire Department in its history

James was speaking weeks after she won a $355 million judgment against Trump for inflating the value of his properties. He was also banned from business in New York for three years.

The small, but noisy, section of the crowd ignored her calls for them to ‘simmer down’ and continued to boo for another minute – then loudly chanting ‘Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!’

Eventually, the hecklers ran out of steam, until James ad-libbed her speech as she thanked the firefighters who tried to save her mother, who died of breast cancer.

‘Pray for those firefighters who stood with me when my mother was dying, and they worked on her for an hour in my house, not knowing who I was,’ she said.

‘I thank those members of FDNY who worked on her body and prayed over her body when she died. Some may even be here. Some might even be booing me. But nonetheless, I pray for them.’

That comment set off another round of booing alongside cheers from better-behaved sections of the audience.

One FDNY firefighter blasted the chief’s response as being heavy handed.

‘It was a political stunt for the city to have the AG there. When it backfired, they sent their fascist pit bulls after guys for exercising their First Amendment rights,’ he said to the New York Post. ‘Most were off-duty and not in FDNY uniform.’ 

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association issued a warning to its members about the investigation advising them to comply with FDNY regulations while offering legal representation if needed. 

However, the FDNY has not given the specific reasons for pursuing those involved or identified any potential violations. 

Indeed, legal experts, including constitutional law attorney Alan Dershowitz, have argued that firefighters have a constitutional right to express their opinions and should not be penalized for exercising their First Amendment rights.

‘Firefighters have an absolute constitutional right to boo the attorney general, and the government has no power to punish them for it,’ Dershowitz told The Post. ‘So efforts to get the names of the booers is an effort by the government to chill free speech and is unconstitutional.’ 

Shortly after the ceremony, FDNY Chief Hodgens blasted the firefighters who heckled James for causing a distraction at the event.

‘The ceremony was about one thing: the accomplishments of the members being promoted,’ he said.

‘The members whose behavior distracted from that celebration were an embarrassment and not befitting of the world’s best fire department.’ 

James’ office has declined to comment.

James was speaking weeks after she won a $355 million judgment against Trump for inflating the value of his properties. He was also banned from business in New York for three years. Trump is pictured at a campaign event in Rome, Georgia on Saturday

James was speaking weeks after she won a $355 million judgment against Trump for inflating the value of his properties. He was also banned from business in New York for three years. Trump is pictured at a campaign event in Rome, Georgia on Saturday 

Trump made a rare appearance at the trial on October 3, and learned how much he would have to pay last month

Trump made a rare appearance at the trial on October 3, and learned how much he would have to pay last month

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seen smiling in court at the Trump trial in November 2023

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seen smiling in court at the Trump trial in November 2023

Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Jr of civil fraud in the case spearheaded by James.

He ruled they conspired to inflate the value of properties on financial statements to banks and insurers, and altered Trump’s net worth to gain tax and insurance benefits.

‘From 2011-2021, Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization knowingly and intentionally created more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets on his annual Statements of Financial Condition to defraud financial institutions,’ James office explained in 2022.

Independent officials will monitor Trump’s businesses in New York to ensure no further lawbreaking.

James speaks outside a Manhattan courthouse on the day of the start of the trial

James speaks outside a Manhattan courthouse on the day of the start of the trial

Trump has appealed the ruling, but faces mounting interest of $1 million every nine days until he pays up, and his assets could be seized if he doesn’t.

A Brooklyn firefighter told the New York Post the heckling was directly related to the lawsuit, which he claimed was a ‘witch hunt’.

‘She has no problem, bragging that she convicted Trump, so this is how hard-working New Yorkers, who put their life on the line, feel about her actions,’ he said. 

Trump’s election campaign countered that James was ‘an embarrassment to the people of New York’ and that’s why she was heckled.

‘The rank and file of the FDNY know they have no greater friend than president Trump. The president is honored by, and grateful for their very vocal support,’ it said.

The ceremony honored 65 firefighters and civilian support staff who were promoted, and Reverend Pamela Holmes, who was appointed chaplain.

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This post first appeared on Daily mail

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