(NOTE: For those making angry calls about Chief Julius Hatfield’s antics, please note he is with the Southeast Bullitt FD and not the Shepherdsville Fire Department. Some people are contacting the wrong department with their outrage.)
I have two predictions to make upon seeing the latest report from WDRB-TV on Chief Julius Hatfield of the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department in Bullitt County, Kentucky. The first is that reporter Valerie Chinn has a long and successful career in the news business ahead of her. The second is that Hatfield’s days as chief are numbered and we can thank Ms. Chinn for that.
The chief has learned the hard way that when you act like a bully and tyrant you make enemies. It’s quite possible one or more of those enemies didn’t like what they saw of Chief Hatfield’s antics on TV recently. Maybe they were even offended by the way he treated the reporter. Somehow that reporter ended up with a video that aired tonight (Tuesday) that will prove for some what many had already suspected: Julius Hatfield is a racist.
A week ago this evening, as he tried to chase her from a public meeting, Chief Hatfield kept asking Valerie Chinn “Do you understand English darling?” I think Ms. Chinn proved conclusively that she does understand the language and is even quite capable of decoding the ignorant, racist language spoken by Julius Hatfield.
Now we will find out if the members and officers at the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department and Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District really understand what tonight’s story means about their organizations if they don’t take quick and decisive action.
Valerie Chinn, WDRB-TV (reprinted with permission):
When WDRB raised questions about mismanagement within a local fire department, it brought new information that raises questions of racism. Now, Valerie Chinn has uncovered shocking new video of Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield.
Video from a Bullitt County Sheriff’s deputy’s body camera shows Hatfield’s department responding to a car accident on I-65, south of the Clermont exit in September.
“Well, I’ve got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with,” the Bullitt County deputy said in the video.
Hatfield replied, “We ain’t taking no n—— here.” Then he laughs.
The partially censored expletive was a derogatory racial term.
Hatfield — seen in a yellow shirt — offers to help Loren Dicken, whose pickup truck was involved in the crash.
“You got a jack, ain’t you?” Hatfield asked. “If you show me where them things is at, I’ll get my guys to start changing the tire for you.”
“That’s alright,” Dicken said.
“It will save you a bill,” Hatfield said.
Dicken was taken to the hospital and released. Then, according to the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department, firefighters picked him up and took him to the firehouse where his car was waiting for him.
But it’s a very different story for the other driver. Chege Mwangi, his wife and two children, were in the other car involved in the crash.
“We don’t have triple A,” Mwangi said.
“No triple A?” the deputy asked. “Okay…Who is driving?”
“Me,” Mwangi replied.
“I need your driver’s license, proof of insurance and the registration on the car,” the deputy said.
“I have.. I have.. this is my proof of insurance,” Mwangi said.
Mwangi, who is black, says he didn’t get the same treatment from the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department. He says he noticed fire fighters helping Dicken, but not him or his family. Nevertheless, he didn’t think anything of it because his family wasn’t injured and didn’t need assistance. He says he mostly dealt with the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department, which was helpful.
Mwangi’s claims brought another startling remark from the chief, who had a surprising reaction at an open meeting recently when WDRB asked questions about financial mismanagement and empty firehouses within the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department.
“Why are there so many firehouses that are empty?” WDRB’s Valerie Chinn asked Hatfield at the meeting.
“Do you understand English darling?” Hatfield replied. “Do you understand English?”
Hatfield tried to have Chinn and her photographer removed from the public meeting.
“Turn that camera off,” Hatfield ordered. “I’ve asked you that in a nice way. Buddy, call the cops and get them here.”
“I asked you once tonight if you understand English,” he added. “I’m speaking English.”
The Kentucky State Auditor’s Office is looking into the Fire Protection District’s finances and expects to release its findings soon.
Chinn spoke to Hatfield on the phone about his language at the I-65 crash. He didn’t want to go on camera, but said he doesn’t remember the incident and sometimes there is a slip of the tongue. He also apologized for the way he treated Chinn last week.
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