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LAFD chief tweets apology for Mexican costumes photo

Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings apologized on Twitter on Wednesday after he posed for a photograph with firefighters wearing Mexican sombreros and fake oversized mustaches in front of a taco stand at a recent benefit event.

The Hope for Firefighters event was held downtown and featured firefighters who cooked food and, in some cases, dressed in costumes.

"I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity or disrespect to anyone offended by posing for the photo from the Hope for Firefighters event," Cummings said in a tweet.

Links to photos from the event were forwarded by Cummings last week on his Twitter account. After inquiries from The Times, a department spokesman expressed "sincere regret" and the chief deleted his retweet of the photo. The woman who took the photograph also deleted it from her public Internet accounts.

At the street festival, firefighters from stations across the city prepared food and, in some cases, donned costumes as part of a contest. Themes for the competing booths included the movie "Top Gun," the Hawaiian Islands and the reality television show "Duck Dynasty."

The LAFD has said that it will review the use of costumes at future department events. At a Fire Commission meeting Tuesday, Jacqueline Zarate, a vice president of the Los Angeles Employees Chicanos Assn., called on Cummings to tweet an apology via the same account he used to forward the photos.

“Had members participated in the same event cooking soul food and wearing Afro wigs, that certainly would have resulted in an investigation,” Zarate said.

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robert.lopez@latimes.com
ben.welsh@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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