DPW investigating after people flag bigoted social media posts from employee

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Image via YouTube.

The Department of Public Works has confirmed it is looking into racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT and pro-Nazi posts on social media that appear to be from an employee at the agency.

On Twitter, the man, Crescenzo Gizzi, bills himself as a “Catholic Conservative” and says in his bio to “fight the lie with TRUTH expose the ignorance of RACISM.” A quick scan of his page shows numerous posts and retweets espousing racist views, almost entirely against African-Americans. His bio also says he is anti-Israel, using an emoji with the country’s flag, and includes “#WHITEPRIDE.” His page, whose handle has since been edited to remove references to Gizzi’s name, shows a number of tweets praising the Nazis or Nazi views.

A Facebook profile that shares the same cover photo as the Twitter account lists Gizzi’s employment as a project analyst within DPW’s Office of Engineering and Construction, as does a LinkedIn profile. Those same profiles say he lives in Essex.

City salary records show Gizzi was hired in 1998 and most recently worked for DPW as a public works inspector, earning a gross salary of more than $63,000 last fiscal year.

The department released a statement Monday evening that called the speech “repugnant and hurtful to many people,” but said the Law Department has made clear such thoughts are protected by the Constitution.

There are, however, standards about using city computers or phones to make posts “that are not in the best interest of, or might be incompatible with the mission of, the City government to create and maintain a welcoming and safe community for all residents and visitors,” the statement said.

“The matter is under careful investigation and if remedial action is found to be necessary, it will be taken promptly.”

Earlier this morning, in response to a Twitter user who flagged the social media accounts, First District Councilman Zeke Cohen said he spoke to DPW Director Rudy Chow, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming and City Solicitor Andre Davis about the hate speech.

“Racism and anti Semitism have no place in Baltimore,” he said.

 

Several posts over the last month have praised Nazis, with Gizzi calling one Nazi pilot a “superb warrior” and saying a group of German troops enjoying drinks in Paris are his “kind of illegal immigrants.”

During that same time, Gizzi made a number of racist posts comparing African-Americans to monkeys or gorillas. When a Baltimore man was charged with seven counts of assault following a brawl at a Sparrows Point bar, Gizzi referred to the incident as a “full blown chimpout” and suggested Baltimore County police dropped the ball by only charging one “gorilla.”

Another claimed that affordable bail in Chicago led to more “higgers” committing crimes. It was punctuated with monkey emojis.

In reference to the planned redo of Lexington Market, Gizzi said the $40 million plan would set it up “[f]or the blacks to destroy again.”

Many of his retweets are of alt-right accounts sharing news stories in which people of color are charged for crimes or videos of crimes being committed by people of color.

But the hate is also directed at other groups, including the LGBTQ community and Jews. One photos shows side-by-side images of a rainbow flag being burned and an Israeli flag suffering the same fate.

Lamenting the presence of a drag brunch at MacGregror’s Restaurant, he described the Havre De Grace eatery as a “haven for degenerate faggotry.”

Cumming said the OIG does not confirm or deny any investigations. Davis, the city’s top attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story has been updated.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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