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SGI fire chief suspended following racial remark

Following a racially charged encounter Saturday evening on St. George Island, the chief of the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department has been suspended by the department’s board of directors.

In a news release issued Monday evening from Barbara Sanders, the attorney for the board, the department said Kevin Delahanty, following a special board meeting, had been “immediately suspended from all duties.”

In addition, the board directed him to undergo counseling for anger management and to attend diversity training.

“The board of the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department apologizes for the recent incident between one of our visitors and the fire chief of the department,” read the release.

“The behavior reported is not representative of our organization or the values of our community. The board is extremely sorry for the actions of the fire chief and will extend a personal apology to Mr. Kylon Wishom.”

According to an incident report issued Sunday by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Jared Hewitt had responded at 8 p.m. to 581 West Gorrie Drive in reference to a call received concerning harassment. 

Wishom, a Black man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who was visiting with his family, reported that he had been in the area of Island Adventures when he saw Delahanty attempting to cross the road.

Wishom told Hewitt he stopped his vehicle to allow Delahanty to cross, and that Delahanty had waved for Wishom to continue on.

“As Mr. Wishom drove by, Mr. Delahanty began following him,” read the report. “Mr. Wishom then pulled to the side of the road.”

Wishom told the officer that Delahanty pulled up and yelled “Do you know where the f*** you are?”

Wishom then began videotaping the incident, in a video he shared with Hewitt and later shared on Facebook. 

“The video showed Mr. Delahanty pulling up next to to Mr. Wishom and stating ‘what the f*** is your problem?” wrote Hewitt. “Mr. Wishom and Mr. Delahanty then went back and forth asking if needed help.

“Mr. Wishom then asked Mr. Delahanty to pull off,” the report continued. “As Mr. Delahanty drove off he yelled ‘f***ing n***er’ and drove away.”

In the Facebook video, Wishom added zoomed footage that showed Delahanty driving his private, unmarked vehicle and wearing a blue fire department T-shirt. It also zoomed in to show Delahanty’s name on the department’s website.

A Google search indicates Wishom is dean of students and track coach at Glen Oaks Senior High School in Baton Rouge.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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