After a child wandered away from their family, a firefighter was accused of using a racial slur and spitting on the 3-year-old at a Kansas Hooters. Now, the family of the child has filed charges against the first responder, according to New York Daily News.
Witnesses at the scene were horrified by the language they heard.
The witness, who says they were about 5 feet away from the incident, says they saw the child meander away from their family. When a family member went to retrieve the child, another customer spat at the toddler while hurling racist invectives.
As tensions escalated and a physical altercation seemed imminent, police were called. During interrogation, the foul-mouthed customer was revealed to be a first responder.
Witnesses were again aghast.
“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,” the witness said.
Overland Park police now say they are continuing to interview the family of the child. The first responder now faces charges of battery and making a criminal threat.
Fearing retaliation, the members of the child's family have offered comments anonymously.
“My whole body just went numb," said the child's grandfather to KCTV5. "How could someone do that to a child? He’s a baby. He’s helpless. He didn’t deserve that ... Sick to my stomach. But, 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.”
Hooters has responded to the incident with a statement condemning racism.
“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.”
The Overland Park Fire Department has also released a statement on the matter over Twitter, asserting the first responder in question is not associated with their team.
[Photo: Getty Images]