Over the last several months, there have been a string of videos and news reports about black people having the police called on them for doing ordinary, mundane things. The most recent example of this unfolded on July 4th, when a white man called the cops on a black woman and her baby at community pool in North Carolina and demanded to see her ID. On Friday, the New York Times reported that the man in question, Adam Bloom, has been fired over the incident.
According to WXII 12, Jasmine Edwards Abhulimen was relaxing at the community pool with her child when Bloom approached and asked for her address and ID to prove that she was a resident. Abhulimen gave Bloom her address but refused to show him her ID, WXII 12 reported. Bloom responded by calling the police.
As a resident of the Glenridge neighborhood in Winston-Salem, Abhulimen had the right to use the pool, and residents are not required to show ID to access it. In audio of the police call, however, Bloom incorrectly identified Abhulimen as "a non-resident that's at the pool that refuses to leave." When asked to identify himself, Bloom said, "I'm chairman of the pool." Bloom's lawyer later explained that, as a board member of the Glenridge Homeowners Association, Bloom held the position of Pool Chair.
Two officers showed up and talked with Abhulimen and Bloom. In video of the encounter, one of the officers said that he doesn't check IDs at the pool, and instead asked Abhulimen for her keycard, which residents use to access it.
"Okay, just show that," Bloom said. Abhulimen ignored him, but the officer then asked if she would mind showing it.
"I don't mind showing it to you," Abhulimen told the officer. "But it's not a requirement for me to use the pool, like he was requesting."
She produced the keycard, at which point Bloom told her to "validate that it turns green" when swiped. The officer asked Abhulimen if he could swipe the card to "prove to this gentleman that this turns green." He swiped the card and indeed, it turned green.
"All right, perfect," Bloom said. The officer then apologized to Abhulimen "for the time and the altercation that occurred."
Bloom then told the officer that "a form of ID would have been helpful to validate" Abhulimen's residency. The officer responded that no ID is needed to enter the pool.
"They kind of make their way around sometimes, is the only challenge," Bloom replied. "But that's good enough for me today." It's unclear what Bloom meant by "they."
As Bloom began to leave, Abhulimen asked him if he'd like to apologize. He ignored her and walked away.
Sonoco Products, which had employed Bloom for five years, addressed the incident in a statement Friday, apologizing to Abhulimen and announcing that Bloom no longer works for the company.
"We are aware of a terrible incident involving the actions of one of our employees outside of the workplace," Sonoco said in a statement. "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, and the employee involved is no longer employed by the company in any respect."
In an email to the Times, Sonoco spokesman Brian Risinger said that Bloom's actions "were, quite simply, unacceptable and not aligned with our culture."
In an interview with NBC News, Bloom expressed his "sincere regret for the actions that I took that day," and said that he himself is "hurt that I in any way made another person feel small, maligned and called out." He added that he could have been "more empathetic to how [Abhulimen] may have felt."
The Glenridge Homeowners Association also disavowed Bloom's actions, and said that he has resigned as pool chair and board member. Bloom's lawyer told the Winston-Salem Journal that his client resigned to avoid drawing negative attention to the homeowners association, not because "he did anything wrong."
As NBC noted after the incident, black people in America have recently had the police called on them for barbecuing in a park, selling water on the street, golfing, mowing the lawn, sitting in Starbucks, shopping at a T-Mobile store, sleeping in a dorm, using the bathroom of a Subway restaurant and leaving an Airbnb rental. In one recent incident, somebody called the police on a black lawmaker who was knocking on doors in support of her reelection bid.