Del. FF charged with hate crime for message to medic
Authorities allege the white firefighter sent a threatening meme referring to Black Lives Matter to a Black paramedic
By Laura French
CRANSTON HEIGHTS, Del. — A Delaware firefighter has been charged with hate crimes and harassment after allegedly sending a threatening meme to three coworkers, including a paramedic.
Cranston Heights Firefighter Michael D. Cook, 55, who is white, is accused of sending the messages to a Black paramedic, a Black part-time fire company employee and a white part-time fire company employee who has Black family members, according to the Delaware News Journal.
Court records show the Facebook messages Cook allegedly sent in June contained a meme showing a white man holding a shotgun with the phrase "Black Lives Matter" at the top and the text "So if you want your black head to stay attached to your black ass, stay away from my stuff" at the bottom.
The paramedic responded to the message saying "excuse me" and told investigators Cook avoided her at work the next day, according to court documents. She added that this made her believe the meme was sent to her intentionally because of her race. She said Cook had previously sent her political memes and jokes that did not offend her.
The Black part-time employee who received the message told investigators it caused him alarm and he believed it was a direct threat. The other part-time employee alleged she previously heard Cook refer to rioters as monkeys and that she believed this was referring to Black rioters.
Cook told investigators he was good friends with the paramedic and that he did not mean to scare her, according to court documents. Cook said he didn't see the part of the meme that said "black" and that he regretted sending it. He also told investigators he had been suspended from the fire company.
Cook has been charged with two hate crime counts and three counts of harassment.