Rantz: Seattle Fire Department changed policy over hoax racism complaint

Nov 6, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:43 pm

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) changed a policy over what a complainant now admits was a hoax. Even after Seattle Fire learned the complaint was fake, the department refused to reverse course.

In a June 13 memo, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH exclusively reported that Seattle Fire chief Harold Scoggins banned the phrase “brown out” to describe unstaffed department units. The new policy now says “units unstaffed” because Seattle Fire received one complaint claiming “brown out” is racist.

But “brown out” is not a racist term. And the man who made the complaint, Armando Castillo, explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that he made the whole thing up, in part, “to highlight the divisive nature in which the administration has been dismantling the SFD family structure throughout 2021 and 2022.”

Castillo isn’t his real name either, another hoax. He said he is an internal Seattle Fire source that wishes to stay anonymous.

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The fake complaint

After Castillo sent several aggressive complaints, Seattle Fire agreed to stop using the term “brown out.”

Castillo introduced himself to Seattle Fire and Seattle Office of Civil Rights as a 27-year-old “proud Latino currently living in the South Park neighborhood.” He complained via email that the “term brown out lacks cultural sensitivity. It’s time for a change!”

The Department took him seriously.

“Concerns were raised that the term ‘brown out’ has negative connotations for communities of color. This change has been made to reaffirm SFD’s commitment and mission to serve all communities with dignity and respect,” Scoggins wrote in a memo.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH emailed Castillo after learning of his email via a public disclosure request. He responded by explaining that the whole complaint was a hoax.

Seattle Fire isn’t backing down

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH informed Seattle Fire of Castillo’s allegations. Did they vet the complaint or complainant? Nope.

“The email received by the person who identified themselves as Armando Castillo was accepted by the department as an official complaint. It is not a department practice to further vet community members who submit complaints,” a spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Will they reverse the policy now that no one actually finds the term racist? Also no.

“The Fire Chief stands by his decision to change the term to ‘unstaffed units,'” the spokesperson said.

SFD says it has not had additional contact with the complainant since the initial kerfuffle over the phrase.

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Divisive Seattle Fire chief

Castillo says Scoggins has been tearing the department apart, echoing the concern of several firefighters speaking anonymously to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

“We had all thought we worked for a tight-knit family, but it turns out we are currently working for a poorly run business! We watched an agenda-driven administration try to divide us on race, religion, and vaccination. Some of us feel the administration has pushed its own agenda of bias to promote the business of RSJI. The family unit from the core of SFD is a healthy loving inclusive environment!”

RSJI is the city’s Racial and Social Justice Initiative. It promotes far-left concepts about white supremacy culture and racism.

One training session, “Internalized Racial Superiority,” offers a look at how “whiteness” gets in the way of people of color. It tells white staff they are “responsible” for racism and endorses the concept of “interrupting whiteness.” They should give up on “guaranteed physical safety” to be “accomplices” in creating an anti-racist society. Only then can they “eliminate racism and create racial equity, justice, and liberation.”

‘We are WOKE to a nightmare’

Castillo, who would not reveal his real identity out of concern he would be outed, explained that “Scoggins has been building walls instead of highlighting the love/brotherhood and sisterhood that is the underlying theme in the Seattle Fire Department.”

He complains that the chief has been “inciting perceived underlying racial tensions throughout the department with his perceived bias!”

Castillo said he’s a longtime member of Seattle Fire. He says he has never worked for a chief “more divisive than our current.”

“We are WOKE to a nightmare and hopefully this will help to bring the pendulum back to neutral,” Castillo emailed the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Banning a term based on a phony complaint of racism — meant to highlight a department’s wokeness — certainly makes Castillo’s case.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Seattle Fire Department changed policy over hoax racism complaint