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Former deputy fire chief accuses Boynton Beach city manager of lying about whitewashed mural

City manager denies allegations
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Posted at 10:01 AM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 18:14:17-05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A former deputy fire chief in Boynton Beach is searching for answers after the city altered a mural to replace the images of herself and another Black former fire chief with white faces.

Latosha Clemons was the first Black female deputy fire chief in the city's history, but she feels betrayed after the city decided to erase the faces of her and Glenn Joseph, the city's fire chief, from a mural honoring Boynton Beach's past.

Clemon's attorney Nicole Hunt Jackson said her client was "whitewashed on a wall that should have been representative of the city."

City Manager Lori LaVerriere removed Matthew Petty as fire chief and fired Debby Coles-Dobay, the city's public arts manager. Petty later resigned.

Now, Clemons is accusing LaVerriere of knowing of the change to the mural and doing nothing to stop it.

"We found out the city manager was aware of the decision to whitewash the face of Clemons," Jackson said. "The city has put up the original mural, but the damage to Ms. Clemons has already been done."

Clemons said she's "still baffled by this entire experience."

"I'm having difficulty sleeping," she said. "All involved in making the decision to change that art should be held accountable. This can't be swept under the rug.”

LaVerriere denies Clemons' accusation and said she was not aware of any changes being made to the mural.