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Fire chief investigated for wearing blackface in old photo

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 02, 2021

ANDERSON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — An Anderson county fire chief is in the hot seat and under investigation after a photo surfaced of him wearing blackface.

Fire Chief Pat Krogman was dressed in a red, green, and yellow knit hat and dreadlocks, with his face, legs, and arms all painted black.

"I'm still just like reeling from what I saw," said Kemper Rogers who lives in the county.

There were a lot of mixed feelings about it from people in town. Some were outraged, while others questioned what the big deal was.

History dates the practice of blackface back to minstrel shows from the late 19th century when actors would paint their faces black to mock and dehumanize Black people. That's why some people find it offensive today.

"The fact that anyone would do that, I don't understand the context," said Kemper.

The context of the photo is not known but believed to be old.

When LEX 18 tied to ask Chief Krogman about the context- when and why it happened, he said he was out of town and would not comment until after the Anderson County Fire District's investigation is complete.

Fire Board Chairman Johnny Walls sent a statement:

"The Anderson County Fire Protection District has been made aware of the photo in question of Chief Krogman posted on social media. The Anderson County Fire Protection District takes any and all matters regarding race and discrimination very serious. While Chief Krogman's service to the department and the citizens of Anderson County has been nothing but exemplary, this matter will be fully investigated by the Board of Trustees."

That investigation will take time, which those frustrated with the chief's actions say they don't have.

"I hope they do the right thing. I hope they don't turn their head and say, 'oh it's just a joke', "said Neil Estep.

Krogman has not been suspended and is currently still chief of the fire district.