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FDNY commissioner's medic son apologizes, quits EMT job after 'offensive' tweets

Mary Altaffer / AP

New York City Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, seen here in 2010, had no comment Tuesday on offensive tweets by his son, Joseph, an emergency medical technician.

The son of New York City's fire commissioner quit his job as a city emergency medical technician Monday after a report that he made offensive posts about blacks, Jews and women on Twitter.

Joseph Cassano resigned only a few hours after issuing an apology for the tweets. His father, Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, said he was “extremely disappointed” by his son’s online comments and that they did not reflect his values.

The New York Post reported that the younger Cassano’s now-disabled Twitter account included posts such as "I like jews about as much as hitler" and "Getting sick of picking up all these obama lovers and taking them to the hospital because their medicare pays for an ambulance and not a cab."

In other tweets, he used a derogatory slang term for black people, threatened to leave the U.S. if President Obama was re-elected and made a snide crack about Martin Luther King Jr., the newspaper said. He also reportedly wrote that every girl should be forced to get a "boob job" when she turns 18.

Cassano, 23, also complained about his job as a city EMT, and alluded to a plan to follow in his father's footsteps and become a firefighter, the Post reported

In a statement issued through the FDNY, the son did not acknowledge specific tweets but said he took "full responsibility my comments."

"From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly sorry and I apologize for my offensive remarks.  My intention was never to hurt anyone, or any group, and these tasteless comments do not reflect the person my parents raised me to be," he wrote.

The elder Cassano said the situation was “very painful” to him as a parent but backed his son’s decision to step down from a job he has held since December and which could have given him an edge in becoming a firefighter.

“I love him very much and, with the support and love of our entire family, we will get through this together,” the commissioner said.

Cassano, who took over the top Fire Department job in January of 2010, also said he has worked hard for years “to make the FDNY more diverse and inclusive” and would not tolerate statements that damage the department’s reputation.

The Fire Department has been embroiled in a federal lawsuit brought by the Justice Department in 2007 over its racial makeup, which was 89 percent white.

In 2010, a judge halted hiring and ordered the city to create a new entrance exam; the following year, he appointed a monitor to oversee recruitment and hiring. The city has appealed, but a record number of minorities took the latest test last spring, and 40 percent of those in line to get the coveted jobs are black or Hispanic.

Before the resignation, a lawyer for the Vulcan Society — a fraternal organization of black firefighters, which joined the feds' discrimination suit against the department — called the younger Cassano's tweets disgraceful.

"I suppose one shouldn't visit the sins of the son upon the parent, but as John lives at home with his father the FDNY commissioner you can't help wondering about the influence of that home on his disgracefully racist views," the lawyer, Richard Levy, said in an email to NBC News.

Ron Meier, New York regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said he was "encouraged" by the younger Cassano's apology.

"The sentiment Mr. Cassano communicated in those posts threatens to damage and undermine public trust in FDNY. We urge Mr. Cassano to take meaningful steps that reflect the regret he has expressed," Meier said in a statement.

The head of the union that represents emergency medical technicians said he was hoping the report was "not true."

"The union does not condone this type of behavior," said Israel Miranda, president of Local 2507 of District Council 37.