OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Charges have been filed against a 42-year-old Kansas City firefighter after he allegedly spit on a 3-year-old child at an Overland Park restaurant and called the child a racial slur.
Terrence J. Skeen, of Kansas City, Missouri, has been charged with misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct and assault.
A witness visiting Overland Park on Feb. 26 reached by phone said the altercation started when a child at the Overland Park Hooters location wandered away from his family, and Skeen started giving the family parenting advice.
“He sat down and said, 'I’d get that little “N” kid up off of the ground,' and it exploded from there," said the witness, who asked not to be identified.
On Thursday, Chris Hernandez, director of communications for Kansas City, released a statement to confirm Skeen is indeed a firefighter and paramedic for Kansas City, Mo.
Hernandez released the following statement:
"We can confirm that Jeremy Skeen has worked in the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department since 2002, minus one year where he resigned in 2010 for personal reasons. He currently has the title of firefighter/paramedic.
"While we cannot comment on individual personnel or discipline issues, the City of Kansas City strongly values diversity and expects all employees to treat others with respect. As we build a workplace where everyone is valued, the city provides diversity and harassment training every 2-3 years.
"The most recent round of training started in November 2017, and 84% of Fire Department employees have currently completed the training course.
"This training is required of all full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract employees. New employees go through this same training course as part of their orientation."
“If he has that type of attitude and apparently works for KCMO, he has no business being out on the job because he never knows who he may be called to rescue," the witness told FOX 4's Dave D'Marko.
The family involved in the dispute took off before the witness had a chance to talk with them.
“I would just hope he understands not everyone thinks of people like that," the witness said of the young boy who the FBI will determine whether or not was a hate crime victim. "It is one individual who needs to figure out that’s not how society is anymore.”
No one answered the door at the last known address for Skeen. He is due in municipal court on April 3 to face the charges.
A Hooters spokesperson issued the following statement about the incident:
“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.”