Manhattan Beach fire chief fired over public comments

Manhattan Beach Fire Chief Daryn Drum has been fired due to recent comments he made that were viewed as insensitive, city officials said.

City Manager Bruce Moe made the announcement Friday night.

"...Fire Chief Daryn Drum was served a notice of termination and been
relieved of his duties at the MB Fire Department. Police Chief Derrick
Abell will temporarily serve as Acting Fire Chief along with his current
responsibilities,'' Moe tweeted.

Audio released by the city reveals that Drum used the metaphor "not taking our foot off their throat'' multiple times during a meeting of regional public safety officials, referring to negotiations with an external vendor.

The comments were viewed as inappropriate in light of the Memorial Day
death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who was killed when a police officer
knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and face-
down on the ground. Floyd's death prompted a nationwide protest movement
against racism and police brutality.

City officials also cited comments Drum made on a June 11 podcast called "The South Bay Show.''

"You're one good shooting away from civil unrest, and now it's changed to you're one violent interaction -- and the officer oftentimes doesn't control the level of violence that comes with that interaction -- the person that they're in contact with is really the one in control,'' Drum said. "If you comply, there is no violence. If you respond with violence, then the officer has no choice.''

"We need thoughtful leaders offering voices that are open and inclusive,'' a city statement said. "Chief Drum's recent comments do not reflect our core values as a City, and an immediate change of Fire Department leadership is in the community's best interests.''

Abell also served as acting fire chief prior to Drum's hiring in April 2019. The department has two fire stations consisting of 30 firefighters and five part-time support personnel.