Aurora deputy fire chief fired after accusations of racist remarks, retaliation against employees

Local News

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora Fire Rescue (AFR) deputy chief was terminated following an internal investigation into allegations of racist remarks and retaliating against employees who raised concerns about training programs.

The City of Aurora confirmed Thursday night that Deputy Chief Stephen McInerny was no longer employed by the department as of March 1.

“While the investigation took a number of months to complete, the city acted immediately upon learning of concerns and did not wait to receive media inquiries to initiate the investigation,” an Aurora spokesperson said via email.

The internal investigation revealed McInerny was accused of violating a number of policies.

In one incident, he allegedly called an Indian job candidate a “dot head.”

During the investigation, McInerny denied he used the racist slur. However, he then perpetuated a racial stereotype about Indian people, saying, “I like Indian people and I have worked with them extensively in the Information Technology realm and they excel in that profession.”

The former deputy chief was also accused of getting too involved in employees’ requests for leave.

In one example, McInerny reportedly denied a vacation request because an employee complained about certain training.

McInerny also allegedly reassigned someone to another fire station because he or she complained about training.

Investigation documents also stated McInerny would allegedly use leave time while he was on five trips, rather than using vacation.

The investigation into the former deputy chief also revealed that McInerny allegedly used all Fridays in 2020 as flex days, even though he was supposed to work every other Friday.

McInerny was investigated internally, as well as by third-party independent investigators.

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