Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran (pictured below right) was fired today by the city’s mayor, Kasim Reed (pictured above), on the day Cochran was scheduled to return to work after a 30 day suspension for making derogatory remarks about LGBT people in a self-published book he wrote titled, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” In it, Cochran labels homosexuality a “sexual perversion” and compares homosexuality to bestiality and pederasty. GA Voice reports that Mayor Reed held a press conference today at City Hall to make the announcement. Reed gave Cochran the option to resign but terminated him after he refused to do so:
“His personal religious beliefs are not the issue at all despite the number of comments and emails I have been receiving on a daily basis,” Reed said at a packed press conference. “His judgment and ability to manage the department was the subject of this inquiry.” Reed named Deputy Chief Joel C. Baker as the interim fire chief.
Cochran published his book in violation of the city’s standard of conduct, Reed stressed, and he said every single employee in the fire department deserves to come to work in an environment where they feel safe in keeping with the city’s policy on nondiscrimination.
“His actions around the book, his statements during the investigation, eroded my confidence in conveying that message,” Reed said.
Reed added that he believed the city faced serious liability if Cochran remained on the payroll.
“If you work in an organization, you check in with person signs your check. And that didn’t happen here. And after that happened there was no contrition about it,” Reed said. Cochran spoke publicly about his suspension at religious events during his suspension, drawing the ire of the mayor.
Watch video of the press conference, AFTER THE JUMP…