James Brewster: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 05: Maxine Waters attends Black Girls Rock! 2017 at NJPAC on August 5, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

James Brewster is a former fire chief in upstate New York who was removed from his position after he posted a racially charged message about Maxine Waters. In a post on Facebook, Brewster wrote, “Maxine gives the word [n-word] a bad name.”

After the post surfaced, Brewster was fired from his post as chief. He’s since become the village firefighter for East Syracuse.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Brewster Left the Racist Comment on a Post About Maxine Water and then Hurried to Delete It


On June 29, Brewster posted to Facebook, “Maxine gives the word n***** a bad name.”

He deleted the post, but not before it had been screenshotted by a local reporter, Michael Benny. Brewster apparently left the comment on a Thursday night and deleted it on Friday.

2. Brewster Was Suspended Without Pay While East Syracuse Officials Investigated

East Syracuse officials said that according to their rules, a fire chief can only be removed for “incompetency or misconduct,” and there had to be a hearing before he could be removed.

East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman said that a judge had suggested firing Brewster after an investigation. The Board of Trustees followed the judge’s recommendation and, on August 15, Brewster was removed form his job.

3. Brewster Has Since Become a Village Firefighter

Brewster held more than one job in firefighting in East Syracuse. he was the East Syracuse fire chief — a volunteer position — and he was also a “caretaker” of the fire department. He was also a firefighter.

Brewster has been fired from his position as fire chief, but he remains a firefighter and a caretaker. Both of those jobs are paid.

4. Brewster’s Son and Brother Resigned From Their Jobs in the Fire Department

Brewster’s family was a major presence in the East Syracuse fire department. His son, Dave Brewster, was first assistant chief with the department. And his brother, Tom Brewster, was the second assistant chief.

Bother Tom Brewster and Dave Brewster have resigned from their positions as assistant chiefs. But they are staying on in the department as firefighters.

5. East Syracuse Is Still Looking For a New Fire Chief

After Brewster was fired, the Board of Trustees appointed Andrea Hrubin to be acting fire chief. The town has not yet hired a replacement for Brewster.

The town does not have an assistant fire chief — or a second assistant fire chief — right now. Those two positions had been filled by Brewster’s son, Dave Brewster, and his brother, Tom Brewster. Both of those men have stepped down from their leadership positions.

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