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Boynton Beach settles lawsuit against city by first Black female deputy chief

Latosha Clemons sued city after face removed from mural
Latosha Clemons, first black female deputy fire chief in Boynton Beach
Posted at 10:14 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 07:51:43-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The city of Boynton Beach announced publicly Tuesday it will settle a lawsuit brought against the city by the first Black female deputy chief.

Tuesday's decision went quickly and unanimously to settle with Latosha Clemons.

City commissioners agreed to pay former Deputy Fire Chief Latosha Clemons after she sued the city for defamation and negligence.

Before the commission voted, the board was contrite in their remarks.

"My position is that we accept the offer of $100,000 so that we can move forward," said Mayor Steven Grant.

Then, Commissioner Christina Romelus spoke.

"She is somebody I definitely feel has set a precedent for what a Black woman looks like to be a Black woman in this country," she said. 

Finally, Commissioner Ty Penserga spoke about Clemons. 

RELATED: After former deputy fire chief's face removed from mural, city leaders meet to discuss lawsuit

"I want you to be made whole and I want you to move forward because this was one chapter, but it doesn't have to be the only chapter," he said. 

Clemons, a former deputy fire chief in Boynton Beach, sued the city after she and another Black firefighter's faces were removed from a public mural last year. 

She was included in the mural honoring the city's past, but her image was replaced with a white face. 

She was the city's first black female deputy fire chief in the city. 

Vice Mayor Woodrow Hay said the next time city leaders think of putting up a mural, they should leave faces out of it. 

"I would hope and pray that, from a city standpoint, from an official standpoint, that we don't go back to facial recognition again, put faces up on a mural, like we did," he said.  

Clemons didn't attend the commission meeting, but a group called the National Coalition of 100 Black Women showed in support.

The group was especially pleased by what Romelus said.

"She made some very good points. She made us proud as Black women," Desiree Jackson said.

Grant also suggested the commission name a recently created urban orchard after Clemons.