UPDATE 7:37 p.m. - A Kansas City firefighter has been found not guilty on all charges after being accused of calling a child a racial slur and spitting on the boy at an Overland Park restaurant.
Terrence J. Skeen was charged with one count of battery, a single count of disorderly conduct, and a single count of assault in Overland Park Municipal Court.
On Wednesday night, he was found not guilty on all charges.
Reginald Stockman is an attorney for the family.
He said the outcome was devastating for them.
"Obviously the family is very devastated by the outcome of the trial today but I think the family learned a couple things," Stockman said. "We learned that one racism is still prevalent and it’s alive and well in our community and in our society. We’ve also learned that you can be a victim of racism in this country not receive justice.”
The judge agreed with Skeen’s defense attorney that witnesses’ testimony was inconsistent from video evidence provided in court from inside the Hooters restaurant.
Skeen told the judge he’s been employed with Kansas City Fire Department since 2007 and has never had any disciplinary action or been in trouble with the law.
He says he did tell Overland Park police officers who responded that night he was a firefighter so they wouldn’t feel threaten.
Skeen called the witnesses who testified against him “bold face liars.”
Two people who were not in the Harris party said Skeen used a racial slur and did a spitting motion towards the child.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to KCTV5 News for more.
The grandfather of the child was among multiple witnesses on the stand on Wednesday.
The court also heard from two people who were at the bar, plus an officer and a detective.
The defense noted what they felt were inconsistencies in the grandfather's story that was not supported by a video played in court.
Witnesses on the stand collaborated different portions of the story, including the spitting.
One witness said Skeen mentioned guns in a "threatening way," while a second witness heard the alleged racial slur.
When the firefighter was spoken to that night, he said no slurs were used. Law enforcement witnesses testified that he smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot.
The child’s family says they were at the Hooters, located in the 10600 block of Metcalf Avenue, for a birthday party when the three-year-old boy wandered away. That’s when witnesses say Skeen called the child a racial slur and spat on him.
One witness called KCTV5 and said he couldn’t believe what he saw.
"The n-word started to get thrown around. He basically said get that little blank up off the floor," the witness said.
The three-year-old's grandfather spoke to KCTV5 News but did not reveal his identity because he fears retaliation.
“My whole body just went numb," he said. "How could someone do that to a child? He’s a baby. He’s helpless. He didn’t deserve that.”
The trial is set to begin at 2 p.m.
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