Firefighter Accused of Spitting on & Hurling Racial Slurs at a 3-Year-Old Boy at Hooters

hooters restaurant
Keith Homan / Shutterstock

Racism is always vile, but it's especially so when that hatred is directed at children. A firefighter in Kansas has been accused of spitting on and hurling racial slurs at a black toddler, leaving the little boy's family devastated that someone who's supposed to be a community helper could do something so heinous.

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According to KCTV5, the incident occurred on February 26 in Overland Park, Kansas. A family was celebrating a birthday party at a local Hooters restaurant with about 20 to 30 guests. The family says their 3-year-old wandered away from the celebration, and when a family member went to retrieve the toddler, a customer spat at the little boy and began calling him racial slurs.

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The altercation was witnessed by other patrons who were about 5 feet away. "He basically said get that little [n-word] up off the floor," the witness recalled. "The n-word started to get thrown around."

Tensions continued to escalate between the child's family and the racist patron until someone called the police. When officers arrived and began questioning everyone involved, it was revealed that the man who spat on the child was a first responder with a local fire station. 

The witness KCTV5 spoke with said that he was appalled to hear the man was a firefighter. "I didn't catch what the officer said to him, but his immediate response was 'It's OK, I'm a fireman,' like that was supposed to blanket cover everything for him," he said.

The child's grandfather spoke to KCTV5 about the incident but asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the firefighter involved. "My whole body just went numb," he said. "How could someone do that to a child? He's a baby. He's helpless. He didn't deserve that."

In a statement provided to KCTV, Hooters condemned the actions of the racist customer. 

"Hooters does not tolerate any harassment or discriminatory language, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees are our utmost priorities. Of course it goes without saying that our policy is to fully cooperate with any law enforcement investigation." 

On Friday, the Overland Park Police Department released a statement on Twitter stating that the suspect would be charged with battery of a child and disorderly conduct. While they didn't specify which fire station employed the firefighter or whether or not he'd face further disciplinary action, they did clarify that he was not a member of the Overland Park Fire Department.


@OverlandPark_PD/Twitter

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The Overland Park Fire Department also tweeted that they "have confidence [the] District Attorney's office will handle [the matter] appropriately."

The child's grandfather says that while he still fears for his grandchild's safety, he's hoping for justice.  "...You know what? You have to pray for people like that. This society needs to come together. When it's a child, it's not right."

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