Fired Arkansas Firefighter Denies Facebook Post Was Racist

An Arkansas firefighter who was terminated last week over a racist Facebook post, has spoken publicly to the news media about his punishment. Bryant firefighter Kyle Robertson spoke with FOX16 this week contending that people “misinterpreted” his post about Black Lives Matter.

Here is a copy of the post:

FOX16 quoted Robertson as saying:

  • If this offended you in any way, that is not what it was meant for and I do apologize for that.
  • Everybody just assumed that ‘Oh, he’s racist’ but that’s not where I came from and that’s not what I believe.
  • BLM they are an organization, they have some racist tendencies in their beliefs and what they are portraying out of their organization.
  • Nobody got my side of the story, apparently nobody cared to get my side of the story, if they would have then maybe we could have worked something out.

Mayor Allen Scott disagreed. He was quoted as saying:

  • No, I don’t think its open for interpretation at all.
  • The symbolism was plain and clear.
  • I mean it was a racist comment about the history of the way white people have treated the blacks in history and it’s not right.

FOX16 reporter Haylee Brooks challenged Robertson saying:  “I’m getting the feeling you still don’t see anything wrong with the post and you just think people took it the wrong way.”

Robertson was quoted as replying: “Yes, that’s exactly where my stance is.” He has not decided whether he will be challenging the discipline.

More on the story.

UPDATE: The story originally indicated it was Bryant, Texas. It has been corrected to indicate Bryant, Arkansas.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

Check Also

Social Media in a Volunteer Department

Today’s Burning Question: Our volunteer fire department has our own Facebook page and the fire-police have a page they created on their own. Please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the Facebook page belong to the creators, not the fire department? In other words, the fire department cannot make the fire-police get rid of the page, can they?

Podcast Episode 35: Interview With Attorney For Disciplined Michigan Firefighters In Mistaken Death Pronouncement

In this episode, Curt and Attorney Kali Henderson discuss the suit she just filed on behalf of four Southfield firefighters who were disciplined by the Michigan Department of Health and Oakland County after a patient was declared dead, released to a funeral home, and found to be alive hours later by funeral home staff preparing to embalm her.