‘I want to apologize.’ Volunteer Lancaster fire chief resigns after racially charged social media post

Local News

Photo: Francis Butch Ghent, Facebook, mylancastersc.org

LANCASTER, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A local volunteer fire chief in Lancaster has resigned from his position following a controversial post he made recently on social media.

Francis Butch Ghent made the post on Facebook just one day after the deadly deputy-involved shooting in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

“Dear Police, stop responding to these black neighborhoods. They will eventually kill each other and the fake news won’t have a story,” Ghent wrote.

“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 showed he’s a prolific poster. Somedays there would be as many as ten posts to his account.

Most of them 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

On Friday, April 30, he sent in his resignation.

“I wanted to apologize to you, the members of the McDonald Green Volunteer Department, for the recent controversy caused by my post on social media. I realize this has placed our department in a poor light and continues to cause mistrust and controversy within the community we all serve.

I feel, in the best interest of trying to heal the rift caused by my actions, between this department and its community, I need to step down from serving Chief and from any other leadership positions within the department. I hope you accept my resignation in the spirit I render it.

I sincerely want the relationship with our community restored to one of trust along with their acceptance and support of our service on their behalf. My resignation will become effective immediately on the receipt of this letter by President Rallings.

I want to thank you for the confidence you placed in me as your chief for so many years. It has been an honor to serve you and our community as chief. I ask you to pray for reconciliation and healing in our community and hopefully, this decision will be the beginning.”

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