Holyoke firefighter Timothy Leary apologizes for racial slur in letter to Greater Springfield NAACP President Rev. Talbert Swan, Mayor Alex Morse

Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse, left, and the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP. ((FILE PHOTOS))

HOLYOKE — In a letter addressed to Mayor Alex B. Morse and Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Timothy Leary apologized for his comments in a 2012 video.

The provisional Fire Department lieutenant made racially insensitive remarks regarding City Councilor Anthony Soto while off duty, speaking with owner of Hampshire Towing William Johnson in his South Hadley office.

The video came to light in February. On Aug. 8, Leary said he agreed to meet with the NAACP and Morse regarding his remarks.

Below is the full text of the letter, dated Sept. 26:

Dear Mayor Morse and Reverend Swan:I am writing to address an issue that has arisen over comments I made to an individual in the Summer of 2012. As you are aware, I made these comments while I was meeting with a former employee in his office. Unbeknownst to me, he was secretly recording our conversation. Further, without my knowledge or permission, this recording was then made public by a City Council member.

Regardless of these circumstances, I want to express my deep regret over the words I used during this private conversation. I want you to know that during my entire career as a firefighter with the City of Holyoke, I have been dedicated to serving all of the residents of Holyoke, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, color or sexual preference. The words I chose in my private conversation were hurtful and not in line with my years of unbiased service. I sincerely apologize to all who were offended by those words.


Timothy Leary

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