North Providence town employee fired after racist social media post, mayor says


NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A custodian for the North Providence Police Department was fired after posting what Mayor Charlie Lombardi called a “vile, vicious, revolting and reprehensible” message on social media.

Lombardi tells 12 News he personally fired Darren Barnes Friday morning after it was confirmed that a social media post full of racial hate speech was traced back to his personal Facebook page by the town’s IT department.

“I didn’t sleep all night to be honest with you because I don’t condone this, this is not good,” Lombardi said. “I couldn’t wait to fire him. This is not us, this is not North Providence.”

He said as soon as Barnes sat down in his office, he knew exactly what the meeting was about.

“I looked at him and he said ‘I messed up,'” Lombardi recalled. “He was humble about it, and I said, ‘Yes, you did.’ I said, ‘I just want to let you know, to turn in all of your belongings and you’re done.'”

“I think people know that about me,” he continued. “I come from business and I’m no nonsense.”

In his termination letter to Barnes, Lombardi called him “a disgrace to the town and all of its other honorable and dedicated employees.”

“It is unfathomable that any decent, civilized human being could conceive such thoughts, and worse, reduce them to written form and electronically publish them,” Lombardi wrote. “Words cannot aptly describe the depth of my disgust with your behavior.”

12 News reached out to Barnes for comment but has yet to hear back.

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