An African-American woman in Virginia has lodged a complaint against a local fire department, claiming a firefighter refused to help her 11-year-old son’s nosebleed because of the boy’s race.
In an interview with WRIC, Stacey Claiborne Richmond, who is a nurse, explained she was driving through Virginia with her two sons in the car when suddenly her 11-year-old son's nose began to bleed.
Since Claiborne Richmond was near one of the municipality’s fire stations, she drove over there and asked her older 15-year-old son to get some ice for his brother’s nose.
However, the boy returned empty-handed and told his mother a fireman refused to give him any ice, saying "it's for their personal use" only.
It was then when Claiborne Richmond decided to make the request herself.
When she went inside, Claiborne Richmond met a different fireman, who agreed to assist her.
“So he said, ‘Sure ma’am, I will get it for you,’” Claiborne Richmond recounted.
That’s when the first firefighter, a white man, who had refused to give her son ice, came out and told her she couldn’t have any.
Claiborne Richmond said that firefighter said, “'I said, don’t give her no ice. Go out to the car and find out what’s really going on.'"
She claimed the firefighter also asked questions about her son's name and age that didn’t seem relevant to the situation.
Claiborne said waited for nearly seven minutes and then left without any ice, realizing she wouldn't get any.
"When I chose to leave, the firefighter that was going to give me the ice said, 'Ma’am, I’m sorry. I really was going to give you the ice,'" Claiborne said. "He looked intimidated."
The mother of two claimed the incident was race-related.
"I hate to say it, and I hate to call a spade a spade, but as the children say, it is what it is," she said. "It is the truth. I felt like it was a racial thing."
Claiborne Richmond later wrote a letter to local officials, informing them about her experience, the deputy fire chief of the Petersburg Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services confirmed to ABC News.
The department is currently looking into the incident.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Valentin Flauraud