MIAMI (Legal Newsline) – Firefighters who lost their jobs and sued the City of Miami and its fire chief for allegedly linking two events – penises drawn on a Black colleague’s family photos and the later placement of a string resembling a noose on one of the pictures – had no case, an appeals court ruled, citing the absolute immunity afforded government officials for actions taken “within the scope of their duties.”

Firefighters David Rivera, Kevin Meizoso and Justin Rumbaugh were fired after an incident in which the colleague’s photos were defaced with phallic images and days later by a noose. An internal investigation concluded the three men may have been involved in drawing the phallic images but found no evidence they were responsible for the noose.

The three sued Miami and Fire Chief Joseph Zahlraban for slander and defamation after the chief held a 2017 press conference in which he told reporters that six men, including the three plaintiffs, were fired over a “hideous, distasteful act of hate” that he described as “the incident,” singular.