Ill. fire chief apologizes for Facebook post about looters

Lincoln Fire Chief Bob Dunovsky said the decision to share the post referencing the shooting of looters "was made in haste"


Doug Finke
The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.

LINCOLN, Ill. — The chief of the Lincoln Fire Department issued a written apology Thursday for sharing a Facebook post that said Trump supporters would blow the heads off of looters.

Chief Bob Dunovsky said the decision to share the post "was made in haste and without much thought" and that he didn't have any ill intent when he did it.

Lincoln Fire Chief Bob Dunovsky apologized in a written statement Thursday for sharing a Facebook post that mentioned the shooting of looters. (Photo/City of Lincoln, Illinois)
Lincoln Fire Chief Bob Dunovsky apologized in a written statement Thursday for sharing a Facebook post that mentioned the shooting of looters. (Photo/City of Lincoln, Illinois)

"Today in the world of social media, what one may find cute, amusing, or even funny can conversely be found offensive or hurtful by others," Dunovsky wrote in his apology. "I'm sorry and I apologize for the nature of said posts."

The apology was addressed to "Mayor Goodman, City Council Members & the Citizens of Lincoln." Seth Goodman is the mayor of Lincoln. He could not be reached for comment.

In the Facebook post, another person wrote "If s--- hits the fan and you decide to start robbing people...you might want to start with the houses that have Bernie/Biden 2020 signs. They don't believe in guns. Those Trump supporters will blow your worthless head off."

Reached Thursday, Dunovsky said he used his personal Facebook page when he shared the item.

"Even though I am a city official, I am a Second Amendment person," he said. "Things that get posted on my Facebook page are pro-Second Amendment."

Dunovsky called it "just a Second Amendment-like meme that was actually posted from another gentleman. You know when you're strolling through Facebook you hastily and without thinking sometimes share something. That's what happened. There was never any intent whatsoever to suggest that somebody should go start looting and go to somebody's house because of their political bias. That's not what the intent was. The intent was about guns."

The message, he said, is that it is better to have a gun to protect yourself than to not have one.

Dunovsky has been a firefighter for 38 years working for several departments. He has been chief in Lincoln for a year.

Dunovsky said he shared the post on Tuesday. He said he took the post down Wednesday, but by then the complaints had started and the mayor heard about it.

"To me, I was just exercise my First Amendment right about the Second Amendment. In a nutshell, that's what it is," Dunovsky said. "Some people that don't have the same view as me twisted words and things around and decided that the best thing to do would be to attack my professionalism and integrity and question whether I would come to their house to put out a fire if they had a sign in their yard. That's completely ludicrous and ridiculous."

Dunovsky said he's spoken to the mayor and city council members about the incident and that what he did didn't violate anything in the city policy manual. It was his decision to write the letter of apology, he added.

"You probably won't see me on Facebook for a very, very, very long time," Dunovsky said.

Gary Davis of Lincoln, chair of the Logan County Democratic Party, said a comment like that in the Facebook post "is out of place."

"Without casting aspersions on the chief, I would just say there's no room for that kind of rhetoric in Logan County," Davis said.

Davis said the apology from the chief is acceptable.

"As one who has misspoken himself more than once and apologized for it, I'm generally open to others offering apologies for misspeaking themselves," Davis said. "Part of my ethic is to accept apologies when they are sincerely offered."

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©2020 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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