fb-pixel Skip to main content

Boston firefighter is placed on leave after ‘disturbing’ social media posts

A veteran Boston firefighter is on administrative leave while the department probes “disturbing” social media posts that appeared to advocate violence, an official said.

Octavius Rowe, who has been a Boston firefighter for 15 years, was placed on paid leave Oct. 2, said Boston fire spokesman Steve MacDonald.

“The postings we’re aware of are very disturbing,” said MacDonald on Tuesday. “Some are even violent in nature.”

One of the social media postings was a blood-spattered cartoon of a man carrying another man’s decapitated head with the text “Nat Turner’s slave rebellion,” the Boston fire department confirmed on Tuesday.

MacDonald said there were other “disturbing” postings, but did not elaborate other than to say some of them appeared to advocate violence.


The postings, he said, did not reflect the values of the Boston Fire Department.

He said fire officials, along with assistance from Boston police, are investigating the matter.

Boston police Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman, said Tuesday, “There is no indication that any criminal behavior has taken place.”

Both McCarthy and MacDonald confirmed that a police officer was stationed outside of Boston fire headquarters after Rowe was placed on administrative leave.

“Out of an abundance of caution, there was a police officer out front for visibility reasons,” said McCarthy.

MacDonald referred to the police presence outside Boston fire headquarters as a “precautionary measure.”

Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.