Fire officials say Richard Prince was demoted for controversial Facebook comments.
TORRINGTON, CT (WFSB) -
A veteran firefighter in Torrington was demoted after posting to Facebook controversial comments about killing pit bulls.
The fire department said Tuesday that Richard Prince had been stripped of his "Deputy Fire Marshal" title.
Officials say Prince posted the comments on a page called "The Pit Bull Propaganda Machine Revealed." They say he mentioned in detail about to kill the dogs.
Torrington's fire chief said the posts went too far.
"Per our investigation, we found out that he violated city policy by using city equipment, city phone, city time to do his posting for some of it," Chief Gary Brunoli said.
Prince, a 24-year veteran of the department, was demoted after the investigation, the chief said. When that happened, he took a $10,000 pay cut.
"What he said is very graphic and it's not appropriate for an employee that works for me to be acting in that manner," said Brunoli.
Eyewitness News found the comments online.
In them, Prince wrote about carrying duct tape in his work vehicle since he rubs elbows with a few pit bulls daily. He added that he hasn't seen a friendly one.
He went on to write how he would kill one using the duct tape around the dog's eyes, then wrapping their whole snout so the animal couldn't breathe.
Many people wanted to know why Prince was demoted and not fired.
"With someone getting terminated, you can have possible litigation that could cost even more money in the future, so we felt this was best," Brunoli said.
Some people disagreed.
"On company time, that's not a good thing to do," said Torrington resident Tom Lozewski. "If it was a regular person they would have been fired immediately, wasting company money on personal business."
Prince has refused to comment on the case.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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