AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Fire Department temporarily suspended one of their firefighters after he reportedly used a racial slur during a conversation with colleagues.
According to AFD, around May 14, Michael Sorenson was having a conversation with three other colleagues while on duty. According to all three participants, the conversation was friendly, until at one point Sorenson used the N-word.
Immediately after Sorenson finished speaking, one of the colleagues, who is Black, informed Sorenson that his use of a racial slur was wrong and that the incident would be reported. AFD says Sorenson claimed his use of the word was not directed at someone but was referencing lyrics to a popular song.
AFD Chief Joel G. Baker said that though Sorenson may not have specifically intended to direct the slur at anyone in a derogatory way, the use of a racial slur violates department rules and calls for disciplinary suspension.
Following the investigation into the incident, Sorenson was suspended for six days. AFD says Sorenson has apologized and accepted responsibility for his behavior.