Fire chief gets backlash after advising police to ‘stop responding to these Black neighborhoods’

National

LANCASTER, S.C. (WJZY) — Some neighbors in Lancaster County, South Carolina, are calling on a volunteer fire chief to step down after a controversial Facebook post.

Lancaster Fire Chief Francis Butch Ghent is under fire over remarks he posted encouraging police to stop responding to some black neighborhoods.

“Dear Police, stop responding to these black neighborhoods. They will eventually kill each other and the fake news won’t have a story,” volunteer Lancaster Fire Chief Francis Butch Ghent posted.

“God forbid if he answers a fire at a Black home. Are you gonna let all the kids and everybody in the home burn because they’re Black?” said Tonya Ross, a community activist in Lancaster.

A look at Ghent’s social media pages shows he’s a prolific poster whose posts largely involve politics or other hot-button issues.

“They’re so bold that they say it out loud now. They used to hide it and cover it up and whisper it amongst each other. But now they say it out loud. And they’re ok with it,” Ross said

Several people have commented on the Facebook post.

“O my how dare you,” Eureeka Cunningham said.

“Should be ashamed with yourself being Their of a Fire department my son wants to join. He actually looked up to you dude. But he won’t after this. Shame on you dude!!!! Hope you lose your spot with the fire department because we don’t need idiots like you being fake. You should protect and serve all people. Not just the “White Folk!!!!!!” Ronald Belk said.

Ghent is listed as the fire chief on the McDonald Green Volunteer Fire Department Station 12‘s Facebook page and on the Lancaster County website.

County officials say because Ghent’s position is a volunteer one, he can’t be removed by the county. Instead, it’s up to the fire department to decide his future.

“We need to hold these people accountable,” said Ross. “Because fire, EMS and the police go to serve the people.”

WJZY reached out to the McDonald Green Fire Department for comment and was awaiting a response.

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