Oklahoma City firefighter receives $175,000 settlement from city following allegations of racism

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An OKCFD firefighter is receiving $175,000 from the city of Oklahoma City after the city council unanimously approved a settlement in a lawsuit where the firefighter alleges his coworkers harassed him, and verbally and physically attacked him due to his race. 

On Tuesday, the OKC city council approved a $175,000 settlement in a lawsuit that was filed back in January by an OKCFD firefighter. 

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Nicholas Martin, started his career with the OKCFD in November of 2018 at Station 9. 

The lawsuit alleges Martin learned the station was referred to as the “Rugrat Station” because “it lacked sufficient and appropriate leadership.” 

On Martin’s first day, according to the documents, “Martin was taking a shower” when two of his coworkers “snuck into the bathroom, turned out the lights, tossed a lit firecracker in the corner and threw an entire bag of flour on Martin.” 

Then, later in the evening, one of the firefighters allegedly said “Martin would now be completely white.” 

The two also allegedly began calling Martin “Half-Rican” along with some racial slurs. 

According to the lawsuit, Martin reported the conduct to his major several times and he allegedly “did not resolve the problem.” 

Then, during an incident in April of 2019, one of Martin’s coworkers allegedly “made comments to Martin about being on the plantation and being in a slave house.” 

Another incident unfolded in November, according to the suit, where allegedly, “Martin was in the station taking a shower” when one of the firefighters “lowered a roman candle towards Martin’s genitals,” injuring him. 

The next day, Martin allegedly learned they had filmed the incident and were “laughing so hard the camera was shaking.” 

Martin then allegedly reported the incident outside of his direct chain of command.

Eventually, one of the repeat offenders, so to speak, was placed on administrative leave with pay. 

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Around that same time, Martin requested that he be put on administrative leave with pay in order to seek treatment for the mental and emotional distress caused by the incidents. 

According to the lawsuit, “Fire Chief Richard Kelley would later grant the request, but made comments indicating he was not happy with Martin for his request.” 

KFOR contacted officials with the city of OKC, the OKCFD and Martin’s attorney and all of them told News 4 they cannot comment on the lawsuit or the settlement.

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