Firefighter who allegedly called child N-word once urged racial tolerance on Facebook
The 15-year veteran Kansas City firefighter's defenders find what he's accused of difficult to believe
A man who is being reviled in an accusation of having used a racial slur against a black boy earlier this month is said to have portrayed the opposite sentiment on Facebook.
On March 7, a Black child who attended a birthday party with family and friends at a Hooters restaurant in Overland Park, Kan., was allegedly spat on and called the N-word by Kansas City firefighter Jeremy Skeen.
But after all the backlash and uproar that has ensued since that incident, the head of the Kansas City firefighters’ union is still finding it difficult to believe that fellow firefighter Skeen, 42, a 15-year-veteran of the department, could do such a thing.
“On his Facebook page, before this happened, he said anybody who talks bad about race, or religion or sexual orientation, he would unfriend them,” said Bill Galvin, president of Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “It’s one of those deals where, and I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but he wouldn’t be the guy to do something like that.”
Skeen’s Facebook page is no longer publicly available. But Heavy.com got a look at the February 2016 post to which Galvin referred before the page was taken down.
“When you make inappropriate comments about someone’s race, religions, sexual orientation, or beliefs (joking or not), you get removed from my friends list,” the post reads. “Yes, you are entitled to your opinions….I just don’t care to hear them!”
The firefighter is set to appear on April 3 in Overland Park municipal court to face misdemeanor charges of battery, assault and disorderly conduct.
Kansas City Fire Department spokesman James Garrett said the department will “wait for adjudication” before deciding on whether to enforce any disciplinary action.
Galvin is also choosing to reserve judgment until all the facts are in.
“If he did do it, he’ll have to deal with that,” Galvin said. “But there were witnesses there who said he didn’t do it.”
A witness told KCTV5 he heard Skeen use the N-word in referrence to the 3-year-old boy after the child wandered away from the table where his family was celebrating.