WASHINGTON - A D.C. firefighter is back on the job working at a Foggy Bottom station, two months after writing on Facebook that "citizens should take the law in their own hands and target racist cops," D.C. Fire and EMS confirmed.
Norman Brooks was reacting to the shooting death of Alton Sterling, a black man who was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
DC Fire confirms Norman Brooks is back to full duty but would not comment on investigation or whether or not he was disciplined.— Paul Wagner (@Fox5Wagner) September 6, 2016
At the time, sources told FOX 5’s Paul Wagner that D.C. police were informed about the posts made on Brooks' Facebook page and reported it to D.C. Fire and EMS.
Fire officials ordered Brooks off the streets July 6 after he wrote, in part, "Those pigs in baton rouge deserve nothing short of a bullet in their heads." (Click here to read what the rest of the posts said)
Brooks is a 9-year veteran of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department and works at Engine 23 in Foggy Bottom on the campus of George Washington University.
FOX 5's Tisha Lewis spoke with Brooks after the incident and he explained why he wrote the posts on his page.
“First and foremost, I don’t condone any cops being hurt or anything like that,” he said. “My post was in regard to something that happened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this morning where what appeared to be two rogue cops shot a man who was on the ground pinned by police in cold blood. Amongst many things that have been happening in this country over the past couple of years, all of these police officers have been walking. I do not condone any violence against any good, innocent people, cops or whatever.
“All I’m saying is that if anybody, whether it is a criminal cop or a criminal person, tries to attack you or makes you feel some sort of way inside your own community, you have a right as an American citizen to defend yourself. And that is all I put in my Facebook status. Anyone else who received that differently, then I don’t know what to tell you because I have never committed a crime in my life. I love my people and I said what I got to say.”
Brooks said he is frustrated by the lack of punishment for officers in other police-involved shooting incidents of black men across the country.
“All I am saying is that if a person off the street commits a crime, they are punished for it,” Brooks said. “These people are not being punished. I don’t wish any harm on any innocent people or anyone in that instance. That is what my post is about. Maybe I used strong language, but that is just what it is. These events are starting to affect me, my family and my friends. And if you are a black person out there or just a concerned American, and you are not concerned about it, I feel sorry for you.”
Brooks said he apologizes if he offended anyone with his social media comments, but told us he has done nothing wrong, hasn't broken any laws and was just acting on his freedom of speech.
Brooks also said he could have "used a couple better choice words" when it came to his thoughts on Facebook. But when asked if he regrets making the posts, he responded, “I reacted as soon as I saw that video and as soon as I read what happened. It was a reaction to a horrific event. I’m pretty sure a lot of people when they saw 9/11 happen, they made some very strong statements about a lot of people. I’m sure they would take those back maybe somewhat if they were given a chance to think about it again. All I am saying is that I am a man reacting to the horrific things that are happening to my people in this country. I have no ill will to police officers."
So far, D.C. fire officials have been unwilling to say anything about the investigation into the comments and whether Brooks faced any discipline.
The department has a policy against firefighters posting anything inappropriate on social media.