(Meredith/KCTV5) -- Police said charges are pending against a first responder who allegedly spat on a 3-year-old boy and called the child a racial slur at Hooters.
The incident happened Monday night in Overland Park, Kansas after the boy apparently walked away from his family at the restaurant.
A witness told KCTV5 that when a family member found the boy, another customer approached them and spat on the child.
“He basically said get that little ‘blank’ up off the floor,” the witness recounted. “The n-word started to get thrown around.”
The witness said he thought a physical altercation would follow, but instead police were called to the restaurant.
“I didn’t catch what the officer said to him," the witness said, "but his immediate response was ‘It’s okay, I’m a fireman,’ like that was supposed to blanket cover everything for him."
Police Sgt. John Lacy told the Kansas City Star the suspect is a first responder, but didn't say for which agency. Lacy said the person doesn't work in Kansas.
Possible charges could include battery and making a criminal threat, according to police who have not yet released the suspect's name.
The family had been at the restaurant to celebrate a birthday with about 20 to 30 guests, according to KCTV5.
The child's grandfather, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, said he is outraged.
"How could someone do that to a child? He’s a baby. He’s helpless. He didn’t deserve that.”
Hooters released the following statement, following 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.”
-- Hooters of America
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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