An East Texas firefighter fired from his fire department for making a Facebook comment that appeared to be praising South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof says that his comment in question did not refer to the racist killer.
Kurtis Cook says his post was taken out of the context of the discussion thread and he praised someone else who had made donations to the victims.
In the screen snippet that has gone viral, Kurtis Cook admits to writing, “He needs to be praised for the good deed he has done.” However, Cook says that comment did not pertain to Dylann Roof. He said he referred to a post further up in the thread where an individual vowed to donate money to the victims, according to an interview Cook conducted with KLTV.
“When I was looking at the threads and, you know, I was just reading down and there was a person there that posted, was donating a large sum of money to the victims, so I just said ‘This person ought to be praised for his good deed,’” Cook explained in the interview. Cook cannot prove his claim as he has since deleted his Facebook page through which he made the posting.
The screenshot begins with Cook’s comment and ends with Elliott Brown’s response to his post. The KLTV reporter, Summer Dashe, wrote that Cook could not show her the thread because he deleted his Facebook account. However, a deleted Facebook account can be reactivated at any time by the Facebook subscriber by simply logging back into the account. If he deleted the comment before he deleted the Facebook page, then there is probably no way for him to prove his point.
Dashe also wrote that the South Carolina paper could not find the thread where the controversial post took place.
Cook is adamant about the intent of his post. “Making me look like I’m standing with this comment, like I’m supporting this Dylann guy, and I would never do that. I’m not racist, never been racist.” Cook said.
“You can’t put your opinions out there anymore, because somewhere somebody’s going to take that the wrong way and then they’re going to run with it,” he opined, “and that’s what’s happened here.”
Dashe asked Cook why he resigned from the Mabank Fire Department so quickly and did not mention the donation aspect of his comment before resigning. “They were getting so much pressure over there that I just went ahead and just let them go ahead and resign me, or terminate me, so they could go ahead and move on with the fire department,” he said. His wife also added, “The investigation happened so quickly it was almost like Kurtis didn’t have time to defend himself.”
Dashe reported that Cook has twice been named as “Firefighter of the Year.” He said he was most hurt by the suggestion he might treat a fire victim differently because of race. “I’ve never treated any incident different, regardless of what their race or religion was, ever,” Cook said.
At the point of tears, Cook expressed sadness that he might never serve as a firefighter again and that he and his wife may have to move away from the community he loved and volunteered to protect.
While the fire department would not speak on the case directly, the chief told Dashe the department has a strict policy against posting comments on social media sites and members of the department are warned to be careful about what they post.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.