Secret Service Rules Barred Only Black Firefighter at NY Fire Station Where Obama Visited Because He Was Off-Duty

Pres. Obama toasts firefighters at the station Thursday/white house photo
Pres. Obama toasts firefighters at the station Thursday/white house photo
White House photo
By Allan Lengel

The Secret Service has its rules.

As a result, the lone black firefighter at the Midtown firehouse — Engine 54, Ladder Company 4 — visited by President Obama on Thursday wasn’t allowed to be there, the New York Times reported.

”Secret Service only wanted the people that were working that tour there, and it is unfortunate that some provisions could not be made for the only black firefighter in the firehouse to be there also,” said Michael Marshall, a fire lieutenant in the department and the first vice president of the Vulcan Society, an organization of black firefighters.

The Times reported that the black firefighter, Patrice G. McLeod, and more than 30 other off-duty firefighters were not given permission to attend.  The station lost 15 firefighters on 9/11.

The Times reported that McLeod showed up anyway along with other high ranking department members who apparently were not vetted by the Secret Service for the visit. But they were all told they had to leave.

”I said to myself, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,’ so I went down on my own this morning,” McLeod told the Times.

McLeod said had had met Obama twice before when assigned to the department’s standby team for presidential visits, the Times reported

”This is the only black president this nation has had in its history, and if I have two million opportunities to meet him, I will take every one,” McLeod told the Times. ”Especially if he is coming to my firehouse.”

(photo of Obama/white house photo)

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