Florida – Boynton Beach’s first Black female firefighter is suing the city after her image was replaced with a white face on a mural meant to honor local history.
Latosha Clemons, who rose to the rank of deputy fire chief in Boynton Beach, Fla., said the mural’s misrepresentation of her has caused her mental and emotional harm.
“Being depicted as white was not only a false presentation of Clemons, it was also a depiction which completely disrespected all that the first female Black firefighter for the city had accomplished,” the complaint said.
In the mural, a depiction of retired fire chief Glenn Joseph, who is Black, was also replaced with an image of a white face.
The mural was removed the day after it was unveiled in June last year. The city manager fired the public arts manager and demoted the fire chief, who then resigned.
The former arts manager, Debby Coles-Dobay, told reporters she was “pressured” to make the change.
The lawsuit alleges “the actions of the city were done intentionally and knowingly to defame and injure Clemons” and they have caused emotional and mental harm as well as financial loss.
A second amended complaint filed on September 2 says the plaintiff is seeking damages of more than $30,000.
A mediation session is scheduled for November 30, according to court records. A trial by jury has been requested by the Clemons, according to the complaint.