'Sometimes you just do stupid stuff': SC volunteer fire chief facing criticism after racially charged Facebook post

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021
SC volunteer fire chief facing criticism after racially charged Facebook post
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"Sometimes you just do stupid stuff, and I did a stupid thing."

LANCASTER COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A South Carolina volunteer fire chief of 21 years is under fire after making a racially charged and insensitive post on Facebook.

"Dear police, Stop responding to these Black neighborhoods. They will eventually kill each other, and the fake news won't have a story," McDonald Green Volunteer Fire Department Chief Butch Ghent wrote in a since-deactivated Facebook post.

Ghent told ABC-affiliate WSOC that he wrote the post in response to news reports about the Columbus, Ohio, officer who shot and killed a teenage girl who was trying to attack another girl with a knife. He said he's tired of "the media" disrespecting police officers and said his word choice was "poor."

"Sometimes you just do stupid stuff, and I did a stupid thing," Ghent said.

Ghent said he has since attempted to delete the post but it manages to keep reappearing.

"I just want to apologize to the Black community of Lancaster and all the areas that might have read this thing. I didn't mean it as an attack on them, but I was after the news media more than anything else," he said.

The McDonald Green Volunteer Fire Department could vote Ghent out as chief.

Murray has since spoken with county leaders and members of the county council about the post.

WSOC learned that the department is putting Ghent on leave for two weeks and relieving him of all duties while it performs an internal investigation.

The Lancaster County government released a statement Tuesday:

"On Monday, April 26, Lancaster County became aware of an offensive social media post by a volunteer firefighter serving an independent fire department. Lancaster County Council and Lancaster County strongly condemn the social media post as its contents are contrary to the values and beliefs of Lancaster County government. The County has received questions about potential disciplinary or personnel action. Volunteer firefighters in Lancaster County are not employees or volunteers of Lancaster County but instead are members of their independent volunteer fire departments. Accordingly, the county cannot take any disciplinary action. However, Lancaster County and County Council take this matter very seriously and urge the fire department to address the matter."

Ghent said he plans to write a letter of apology and will post it on social media and send it to county leaders.