Latosha Clemons: Florida lawsuit over mural showing city’s first black female firefighter pictured with white face

“The city committee will meet behind closed doors to discuss the dispute. This is not a public meeting,” city manager Lori LaVerriere told CNN in an email on Sunday.

Latosha Clemons filed a lawsuit in April against the town of Boynton Beach. According to the complaint, a mural intended to honor her and others for their services to the city “reflected her as a white member of the city’s fire department.”

Second amended complaint filed on September 2 alleges case is brought on behalf of Clemons “to redress defamatory statement [the City of Boynton Beach] regarding his race and / or neglect by failing to properly supervise an approved use of the Clemons likeness. ”

Clemons became the city’s first black female firefighter in 1996 and served the city for a total of 26 years in various capacities, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that once the City Art Commission approved the mural in November 2019, Clemons approved the use of a proposed image.

“On June 3, 2020, when the mural was unveiled, it did not reflect Clemons as a black member of the town‘s fire department. Instead, it was changed to reflect her as a white member. of the city’s fire department, ”the complaint said. .

“Being portrayed as white wasn’t just a misrepresentation of Clemons, it was also a portrayal that completely disrespected all that [she] the city’s first black female firefighter had accomplished, ”the complaint said.

Neither the city’s director of public arts nor the Boynton Beach fire chief were in their respective positions following the unveiling of the mural, according to WPTV, subsidiary of CNN and the complaint. The director of public art was fired and the fire chief was dismissed from his post and then resigned, reports WPTV.

The lawsuit alleges that “the town’s actions were intentionally and knowingly done to defame and hurt Clemons” and they caused emotional and mental damage as well as financial loss.

LaVerriere said that due to an ongoing litigation, the city has “no comment” on the litigation or lawsuit at this time.

CNN contacted the lawyer for the city of Boynton Beach and had no response.

The second amended complaint indicates that the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $ 30,000.

A mediation session is scheduled for November 30, according to court records. A jury trial has been requested by the Clemons, according to the complaint.

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