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Fire Official's defense unconvincing

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I caught a snippet of Donald W. Walsh on the news last night. The "nationally known" assistant fire chief is under investigation in a race-related case. So far the only thing Walsh has said in his defense seems to suggest that the public shouldn't believe the allegation because of his status. I'm not buying it.

The racial allegation stems from an incident earlier this month in which Walsh allegedly asked about the race of a paramedic who needed to leave work to visit his daughter in a hospital. The department official who reported Walsh is a white field officer who supervises paramedics.

Walsh's response: "I'm a highly decorated chief. This whole allegation is nothing but lies. It's deplorable."

What? You mean "highly decorated people" can't be racist?

I'm sure none of you believe that. If Walsh has a better explanation for these allegations, I'd like to hear it.

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This war against white males needs to stop now! Did you hear Circuit City is laying off only white-male workers. No you didn't- because the liberal media won't tell you that.

I have worked as an electrician for a number of years. During this time i have learned that racism is a way of life, a culture if you will. I would go as far to say that this highly decorated officer of the Chicago Fire Department could pass a lie detector test if asked "are you a racist?". There is no doubt that the culture of a people has the innate ability to permeate into every aspect of ones life. It also has the ability to go detected by ones own self examination. This is why he is so appalled.

Kind of like how you and your friends didn't buy that the Duke Lacrosse players 'didn't' do it'?? Where is your apology to them, and your lambasting of the girl who cost millions of dollars while ruining at least 5 young lives in the process of selfishly fulfilling a greedy desire??
Mary, you yourself have said 'What happened to innocent until proven guilty?' when blacks are alleged to have committed crimes? Are we to believe you are a hypocrite and those words are only for blacks?? Sounds to me that you have Donald Walsh locked up in your mind.

Mitchell comment:

Again, my point was being "highly decorated" doesn't mean you can't be biased against someone because of their age, gender, or race,.

Is there a history of racist behavior by this person? Is there a history of him giving the ok for white paramedics beling allowed to leave without some type of replacement? Was there a dire need to fine a immediate replacement for the paramedic? While using the excuse of being a highly decorated chief does'nt prove he's not racist, the limited information provided doesn't prove that he is either. So, looking at his past history of behavior toward his men and women, would be better than jumping to a conclusion at this point. An if he did violate some policy, maybe a punishment short of firing would be better when you consider that the paramedic was able to attend to his daughter, an no one was harmed by his actions. Its just very hard to look into his head an determine his thinking regarding this.

You want to hear a better explanation for this incident? Ive got one: the dirty rotten ****who "reported" this garbage is lying! He is pissed off for one reason or another and what does a low life stupid fat head****do when he is pissed off? Either violently attack--or cry "Racism". This man--Walsh- has beeen cited with gratitude for his work with the UN! He is exactly the type of (white)man the FD desperately needs. Maybe the higher echelon ****s and **** dont want a man of his caliber around...doesnt make their foot dragging mediocrity look so good. Every day the outrages perpetrated against white men continue...ususally unpunished! PS:Larry Langfords(FD Black spokeman)son,a U of I EMT has ben charged with stealing ID's from his patients!

Mitchell comment:

Please replace the **** with white, since the race of the man who reported the alleged improper conduct was white, not black.

I have to agree, Ms. Mitchell, that after viewing Donald Walsh's interview this morning, he did seem to be outraged that he is being accused of this racist act. I thing is, people who normally behave this way only get outraged when they are held accountable for these types of actions. I am sure he never thought this conversation would come to lignt.

Racial comments like these and others have been going on for years..You would think by now people would have learned to keep these type of comments to themselves,or better still how about living and getting along with each other,seeing how we have so short of a time to be on this earth...

Just to give you an update that maybe you didn't hear about when you started this blog. This morning on the local fox news Walsh did deny saying what he is accused of saying. He clearly said he did NOT ask about the race of the guy wanting a day off. Is he telling the truth? I don't know and neither do you or anyone else. Remember, innocent until proven guilty applies to white people as well so I think it would be fair to hold off on crucifying him until he is found guilty(remember the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax). And if and when he is found guilty then you can get together with your friends and get started on the business of destroying his life and the lives of his family.

Mary you are absolutely correct. I didn't think about it in the manner in which you wrote it.

However, there seems to be some pieces to the puzzle that are missing here:
1. What would be the purpose of asking for someone's race when an employee calls in requesting benefit time or leave?
2. Could not Walsh hear the possible ethnicity of the caller from their voice?
3. Was the phone conversation recorded?
4. How did the Field Office become aware of the matter, was it reported to him by the employee or another employee?
5. Why wasn't Walsh informed about these allegations sooner?
6. Was their a possilbe cover-up at the very top to allow the allegations to demise?

It was stated on the news that Walsh stood near the Fire Commissioner at the funeral for the fallen Fire Fighter. Why wasn't he made aware of the allegations against him.

What explanation could Walsh possibly come up with that would satisfy you? When two people have a conversation that no one else hears, what evidence can either of them present to "prove" they are being truthful? Your "I'm not buying it" line clearly shows you believe Walsh made the racist remark. What do you have to go on besides the word of the field officer to make that determination? What makes his words any more convincing? I believe it's more convincing to you because you WANT to believe it. It validates your belief that white people are always trying to stick it to black people. Why isn't it just as plausible that the field officer has a personal problem with Walsh and knows someone of his stature will have their career destroyed by allegations of racism whether they are true or false? I'm directing my comments toward you Mary, but it's true of all of us. When real evidence is lacking, we believe what we want to believe. Unfortunately, this leaves some of us seeing racism everywhere and others seeing it nowhere, which is helpful to no one.

Mitchell comment:

The fire chief's explanation about why this couldn't have happened is what I'm not buying. As for him having a personal problem with Walsh, why didn't Walsh say that?

In his statement, he DID NOT SAY he was innocent and that he did not make those statements. I wonder if there is some phone recording evidence that would prove his guilt or prove his innocence. Now it looks like guilty. One question, though. What race was the supervisor that reported the conversation?

Mitchell comment:


Racism is rearing its ugly head all over this city. In my neighborhood there is a candidate named Don Gordon (49th ward) who is handing out bananas in the African American community. He's either a racist or just incredibly incapable of the cultural understanding required of someone wanting to represent a multi-cultural community.

A local blogger covered his activities:

Gordon's close friends are posting racist comments all over the internet. This is just one example. Some are more veiled. This one is blatant.

I live here too said...
You all should see the dregs that are being directed to the Pottawattomie field house to vote. When ones "Government issued ID card" is a Cook County jail card, and proof of address is some green form letter thing......And when your answer to simple questions is "I don't know nothing about that, I aint never done this before", and you are dressed in the finest of trashy rags.... I wonder who encoureged you to vote, and what did they promise you. I wonder who that vote is for?

8:12 AM

I wonder what other examples of "passive racism" are currently NOT under investigation in Chicago's protective systems, ie CPD. While what this man probably said is unacceptable, it is only getting the attention it is because of his status--whether he denies or admits it is irrelevant--his status gives the matter attention. There are, however, many more very serious life-and-death issues going on on a daily basis within the CPD and probably the fire dept as well that get no attention because the people involved are not high profile. Such as? The systematic extermination of black youth by black youth that a predominantly white police department is inadequately supported and motivated to prevent or investigate and bring to justice.

My son was murdered two weeks ago while visiting a friend on the south side. As far as I can tell, nothing is being done about it. He was a black youth, and apparently considered not worthy of headlines by the media and not worthy of investigation by the CPD. I remain baffled as to why I will probably never see justice for my son.

After reading the article in the paper, and knowing what I know about people, this is going to be a heresay investigation. To be honest I think he said it, but it cannot be proven, because it was not recorded.

Of course, he would've been misquoted if recorded, and still probably not fired.

Putting your work record as grounds for being a non-racist, is like rich people saying they never have to file for bankruptcy, claiming to have a lot of money and being able to pay their bills (I guess that never happens either.) So as my father used to say "I don't believe him as far as I can throw him."

This farce will go on just like the police beating up civilians, because we let them get away with it.

None of this makes sense. If he asked what was claimed, out of context it sounds dumb, but in what context does it not sound dumber?
Is there a rule where only blacks must be replaced? Is there some type of quota system that is being imposed that is pure lunacy?
I can imagine good intentions gone bad. I've seen it often.

Ms. Mitchell:

I like the way you say "If Walsh has a better explanation for these allegations, I'd like to hear it."

You don't seem to realize that the person whom you should be asking for that explanation is not Walsh, but rather the person who made the allegations. Walsh was accused of something. He responded by denying it.

People make false allegations. It happens all the time. There is no way to know if Walsh made the alleged statement. Therefore, he must be given the benefit of the doubt. He should be reinstated with no consequences whatsoever.

Why is it people especially in this country are so surprised about rasicm. Its been going on for years. And now that we are on the subject, some of the citizens of this fine city have been shouting police brutality forever----but it now a strong possibility because whites are the victims?

Hypocrisy is on both sides of race issues. While I don't always agree with Ms. Mitchell, I do respect her rights to her opinions.

She is often dead on with her assessment though. There have been some attacks on other races (non black) that were unfounded, however the majority of opinions expressed in black media appear to be based on fact. While others may offer support to the contrary.

Some of the opinions of non African American people are based on historical poor treatment of our people. Is this fair? Of course not but it is an understandable position. For every Duke case there is one like the situation in Texas where a young black girl (15 years old) is sentenced to 7 years in prison for pushing a hall monitor (which no one witnessed) by the same judge who let a 14 year old white youth off with probation for intentionally burning down a house.

There is no outcry from any other outlet save the black media. There is no consistent reporting on black children who turn up missing, no constant reporting on untimely deaths of black celebrities. Major reporting in our community is limited to the worst of situations and those who are charged are prosecuted in the media whether they are guilty or not. There is no relentless recision of error when the truth comes to light, no attempt to restore the life shattered in the middle of a tragedy.

To Mary:

I appreciate your stick-to-itivness in light of your critics. You are entitled to your opinion and while you have a forum for your voice let it be heard.

To the supporters:

Keep in mind that Mary's opinions are her own. Do your research on all sides of an issue and base your opinions on the truth.

To the critics:

Remember there are 3 sides to a story. Yours, mine and the truth! When the playing fields are level and reporting in media is unbiased in reporting then there may not be a need for a column like this.

Your last three articles have been right on target. All of your articles have great substance. I began reading when certain People laid siege to the principal of Curie High School.
I am responding to the comment marked "Shocked by Gordon, 30 March 2007, 04:08. I was attacked (bright daylight) by a youth gang in the middle of Michigan Ave. I moved to the middle of the street to stop traffic. One brave and concerned motorist leaped from his car with only a tire Jack-handle (which was effective). The third car from him was a (White) Chicago Police Detective who sat in his car throughout the incident. After the group (about 15) ran off I, angrily, asked the Detective "What are you going to do?" His response was that a squad car was coming. I have never participated in gang activity (and never will). Why was an innocent citizen the only response when there was an Armed, on duty, experienced police Detective on the scene? He could have activated his car emergency signals (siren, lights) at the very least. As you say, there are many situations that bear investigation and race does not have to be involved. Just incompetence and/or "I just don't care!!!"

Perhaps incompetence is Curie High School's problem. Maybe we need intelligent, clear-thinking, mature adults to remedy most of these situations. WWJD

to Pat Wesley: Yes, there has been police brutality going on for many years. What's different here: The CAMERA caught the rogue cop. Otherwise, the police would have gotten away with this one too.

to Jerry and steuben: Yes, it appears its open-season on the straight white male. But perhaps thats only because there are more of us, population-wise. But I admit, it does baffle me that white guys such as Jimmy the Greek, Limbaugh, this fire chief, etc. say either a racial crack, or just something controversial comment, and they'll be gone--no second chance. And yes, the Duke LaCross players were 'guilty until proven innocent' by the media, rather then the other way around. Whereas, someone like Jackson can spout off with "hymies" comments, or somebody like Isiah Thomas can make a flatout racist remark directed at Larry Bird, and not only are they given second chances, but are given promotions and/or receive contributions to stuff their pockets with money and which they don't need to account for and live jet-set lives. It is frustrating, but thats were you need to be stronger and not let it get to you. Remember, there were a lot of black men in the deep south many many years ago who also felt why is there this open-season on us.

to Shocked by Gordon: Just nosy, where you also shocked when Dorthey Tillman and Emma Mitts, two members of the Chicago City Council, made blatant racist remarks toward the hispanic comunity? Because I don't remember if you commented back then.

I don't know what Circuit City has to do with this article. I can say this; if it is true about only white men being fired at Circuit City then all of them made $ 11.00 or more per hour. I understand the company only wants to pay $ 8.00 per hour. So did Circuit City hire all white men at first or it is just quotas?
You guys need to get a UNION! I'm black and seniority is the only fair playing ground; a union is your best bet. All the service sector should unionize young man.

Ms. Mitchell,
Can you find anything else to write about? You LOVE to stir the pot......

I'm so tired. Tired of carrying the burden of being black.

I'm so tired of implied "priviledge" whites seem to get automatically.

Case in point:

***1995: Tested for CFD; scored 91!
***Note: African-american female.
***2006: Finally received a call from CFD to proceed to the physical ability test.
***2006: Although I kicked butt on that test, I received a no-pass letter. No details--just no-pass.

So, don't tell me about CFD being under fire for racist remarks...They have been systematically denying African-Americans opportunities since forever! The spotlight needs to shine on them. Bring the heat!

As for me and my circumstances, I had three strikes against me:
1. African-american
2. Female
3. Age of 31 in 1995; Age of 42 by the time they decided to call me in 2006. (Age discrimination)

Over 11 years, and silence from CFD. While they hired people with scores of 80-85. I am outraged by the injustice. Will Shakman help me? A person who was denied an opportunity by an organization which makes a practice of hiring based on affiliation and race.

I'm tired, Mary. So tired...

Why can't people understand that he asked, "Is he white or black?". Believe it or not, that was a raciest question, especially since this was work related. And from a legal stand point, their isn't suppose to be ANY racial bias in a work enviroment.

I don't know who of the two guys is lying here, and no one ever will. But here's my theory.

Even if Walsh is a dyed-in-the-wool racist, asking the race of the paramedic who wanted to leave work early makes no sense. Why would it matter in this case? A worker is asking to leave early for a family emergency, which means there is one less paramedic on duty.

If Walsh had asked what race he was and learned the paramedic was black and then said he can't leave early, that would make sense (from a racist point of view).

My gut feeling: Whether Walsh made the comment or not, the supervisor reported this because he wanted to get even with Walsh or because he doesn't like him.

On the Walsh issue some things need to be cleared up. If your readers will examine the news reports carefully you will see that some of the blog questions have already been answered. Based on information from Fire; the accuser is white. The accuser is the one who is making the allegation that he in fact heard the comment spoken directly to him. The black Paramedic is not involved in any of the accusations himself. Walsh is not being accused of being a racist. He is accused of asking an inappropriate question before making a command decision. The same charge would have been made had he asked the age or sex of the paramedic before making a decision. Punishment can range from oral reprimand to termination. The department did not make this a news story. Someone ran to WBBM with some of the facts and reporter Steve Miller made it a story, the department then confirmed it and kept comment to a minimum. Had the department not confirmed it media would be yelling cover-up. Walsh got on TV before he even saw the charges. As to why he was not told of the charges at the funeral? He was technically off duty and you cannot serve charges to a member who is off duty or on sick lay up. Why were charges not given to him earlier? Because he was off on vacation when the charges were made and came back to work one day before he did get the charges. He works one day on and three days off. And the funeral was not the appropriate place to it anyway. What is wrong with some of you? Finally what does the race of Larry Langford have to do with this and the fact that his son was arrested on something that has nothing to do with the Fire Department. And No, his son does not and never has worked for the City. Langford did not make any charges, he just confirms the investigation. That is his job. The department has not started any campaign to discredit anyone. Walsh is making all the noise complete with warm and fuzzy TV interviews in his home with his wife at his side. Before he got any official notice at all! I have no position on his guilt or innocence.. lets wait for the report to come out… But me thinks he may be protesting too loudly for his own good! Next thing you know Walsh will be shopping this to Dave Sivini or Chuck Goudy.. Wait for a verdict then start yelling….

I sent you a list of murders that were racially motivated that I found on the internet,these are being"investigated"30 and 40 years after the fact,alot could have been solved if they were investigated properly in the first place. (I hoped you received them.)The amount of hatred racists have perpetrated on minorities should never be forgotten.Systemic racism is in place in the plie and fire dept.,its a shame(and a blessing) the beating of the white lady knocked a little sense into the collective psyche of whites who always denied police brutality and racism still existed. Whites claim when you bring up racism, blacks are playing the race card,they always neglect to say that blacks have been having the race card played on them for 400 years!Truth is not a "race card"its a fact.Continue to fight the good fight Ms.Mitchell,you will be blessed.

Walsh asked if the paramedic was white or black. What makes this a prejudice statement?
If this was his statement, maybe his statement was used to identify a man that he had seen upset. Did he show favorable attention after he found out the race of the man? Does he have a record? NO! Can't we give a highly decorated authority of the CFD the benefit of the doubt? It seems to me that you just like to push a thorn into the side of ANY white person, but if a black individual was standing over his victim wih a smoking gun, I'm sure you would give them the benefit of the doubt. I often wonder why your comments have not been investigated. I am sure you would love to see a highly decorated, well-respected white man lose everything he has ever worked for, over a stupid comment that some else says he said.

to B. Sanders: Many years ago I once scored 102 (out of possible 100) on a civil service test, since I got extra points for having a Purple Heart and military service. Guess what, I didn't get the job, either. But in my case I was a white male, which they weren't looking for at the time

My name is Phil and I have known Doanald Walsh all my life because he is my Mom Cousin and I think he is telling the truth I know he would never say those things plus it is political because he told Ramyond Orozco father he was doing a shi**y job as Commissioner which was true but now the son wanted pay back yes Donald was a highly decorated Firefighter never had one complaint agianst him so I am guessing they want some other idiot who is not quailified to do the job or it's one of the Mayors friends well that is all I have to say

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on March 30, 2007 8:53 AM.

Congressional Black Caucus under fire was the previous entry in this blog.

Imus needs to go is the next entry in this blog.

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