Cleveland firefighter investigated for anti-LGBT social media comment

Plus, officers deny fault in Tanisha Anderson death and controversy over Community Police Commission panel

We boil down what happened in Cleveland this week. 

Cleveland firefighter investigated for anti-LGBT social media comment 

Cleveland firefighter Guy Estergall has caused a heated controversy after posting an anti-LGBT comment on the Humans of New York page. A 13 year-old boy was being featured on the page with the caption: “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me.” Hillary Clinton and TV show host Ellen Degeneres, among others, responded to the post with encouraging, heartfelt comments.

When Estergall’s comment appeared among the responses, he became involved in an argument with other commentators. Estergall’s initial response read: “The kid needs psychiatric help, he’s delusional. We need to find a cure for his kind!” According to him, a commentator revealed Estergall’s job to the public, catching the attention of the city of Cleveland and its fire department.

Estergall claims that he was baited into making anti-gay comments by other commentators and that he stands by comments. He also argues his comments demonstrate free speech. So far, he has maintained his position at the fire department. It has not been made clear whether the city of Cleveland or the fire department itself will initialize a thorough investigation into Estergall’s social media comments.

Officers deny fault in Tanisha Anderson death

Police officers, Scott Aldridge and Bryan Myers, accused of being the cause of Tanisha Anderson’s death, denied the accusation on Tuesday. The city of Cleveland also denied liability, claiming that Aldridge did not use excessive force when handling Anderson.

Aldridge and Myers were called in to take Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old African American Clevelander, to a psychiatric hospital on November 13. The officers claim that her resistance and her already existing mental condition caused her death. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide, saying that the officers excessively restrained Anderson.

Anderson’s death has been a national case as more and more police officers are being accused of using improper tactics.

Controversy over Community Police Commission panel

There has been controversy surrounding Cleveland Mayor Jackson’s selection for the panel that will choose the city’s Community Police Commission. The man who seems to be causing some hesitation is Reverend Jimmy Gates, a former city water employee who was accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes. He was put under community control and also sentenced to some jail time after committing these crimes.

Gates claims that his past crimes will not affect his work, as he is one of eleven people on the panel. The panel has 60 days to make appointments to the Community Police Commission.