Police were called in North Carolina Wednesday after a white man confronted a black woman about using a neighborhood swimming pool, prompting allegations of racial profiling and a backlash on social media. The confrontation also follows a string of incidents across the country in which white people have reported law-abiding people of color in everyday life.
The North Carolina incident reportedly happened in Winston-Salem after a white man asked Jasmine Edwards, who is black, for her ID while using a neighborhood pool. Edwards later uploaded video of the ensuing confrontation to Facebook, where she also wrote that "this is a classic case of racial profiling in my half a million $$ neighborhood pool. This happened to me and my baby today."
In the video, Edwards can be heard saying that "nobody else was asked their ID. I feel this is racial profiling; I am the only black person here with my son in the pool."
The man responds that "I ask residents pretty much a couple times a week."
Two police officers are already on the scene as the video begins. One of the officers tells the man that if Edwards "has a card to get in the pool I believe that that should be enough." The woman later hands over her electronic key card to the officer, who demonstrates that it opens the gate.
"Alright ma'am," the officer tells the woman. "I apologize for the time and the altercation that occurred."
The woman addresses the man only as "Adam" in the video. The Winston-Salem Journal, citing the Glenridge Homeowners Association, identified the man as Adam Bloom.
Karam Gulkham, a lifeguard manager at the pool, told the Journal that both Edwards and Bloom live in the Glenridge community. Gulkham said that the incident happened about 2 p.m. Wednesday.
“There’s a key card to the door to get into the pool,” Gulkham told the Journal. “Apparently, it was not enough for him. I don’t know why he felt it wasn’t enough.”
By Thursday evening, the video had racked up nearly 4 million views on Facebook, and had been shared more than 80,000 times.
The video also prompted several hashtags on Twitter, including #IDAdam, which many used to criticize the man and call for him to be fired from his job.
The company targeted as Bloom's employer, Sonoco Products, did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
However, in a tweeted statement Friday, Sonoco Products said Bloom "is no longer employed by the company in any respect." The statement also apologized to "all who have been hurt by this incident, especially Ms. Edwards and her family."
"The well-documented incident, which involves activities at a neighborhood pool over the 4th of July, does not reflect the core values of our company," the statement added.
Bloom, Edwards, and local authorities also did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
The altercation drew comparisons to other recent incidents during which white people have made similar reports to police for everyday behavior. In April, two black men were arrested while waiting to meet someone at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. In June, a white woman called police about a black girl selling bottled water on the street in San Francisco. Also in June, a white woman was charged with assault after confronting a black teenager at a pool in South Carolina, and police were called to the scene of a young black boy mowing lawns in a neighborhood south of Cleveland.
It was not clear Thursday what, if any, action Edwards planned to take as a result of the video, but in the video she can be heard saying that she was racially profiled and questions police about her options.
"What can I charge against him for racial profiling?" she asks.
The altercation has also reportedly cost Bloom two neighborhood leadership roles. A letter from the Glenridge Homeowners Association, obtained by WXII, states that Bloom has since resigned from both the HOA board and from the position of pool chair. The letter apologizes to people who "were directly hurt by these actions" and promises new policies.
"We sincerely regret that an incident occurred yesterday at our community pool that left neighbors feeling racially profiled," the letter states. "In confronting and calling the police on one of our neighbors, the pool chair escalated a situation in a way that does not reflect the inclusive values Glenridge seeks to uphold as a community."