WILLIAMSTON, N.C. — A North Carolina hotel employee is out of a job five days after she called police, alleging a Black family was trespassing in the swimming pool.
The unidentified Hampton Inn employee told police in Williamston, North Carolina, that she spotted two children playing in the pool unattended June 26 and when she spoke with them, they motioned to a nearby car, KTRK reported.
According to the police report, the worker located the mother, identified as Anita Williams-Wright, in the vehicle and asked for her name and room number.
Williams-Wright replied she did not have to provide that information and said “she was done talking to her,” KTRK reported.
According to CNN, Williams-Wright also told the employee she was charging her phone while she spoke with her mother and that she could see her children clearly from her vehicle.
When police arrived, after the employee summoned them for a trespassing complaint, officers also asked Williams-Wright for identification and her room number, which she refused to provide, but she did show them her room key as proof she and her children were guests of the hotel, KTRK reported.
Williams-Wright began filming the incident when officers arrived to investigate, and she can be seen displaying her room key and explaining she was not going to give her name and room number because she felt she was being discriminated against for the color of her skin.
“Once I proved that I had a room, that was for you to walk away,” Williams-Wright said to one of the officers on the video. “I did not commit a crime. You are degrading me like this in front of my kids. They are trying to enjoy themselves in the pool.”
Shruti Gandhi Buckley, the global head of Hampton by Hilton, said in a statement that the company’s administrators were alerted to the incident over the weekend and they contacted the Williamston managers on Sunday. During that exchange, they learned the employee who instigated the police intervention is no longer with the company, but a Hilton spokesperson told ABC News it is unclear if the employee was fired or resigned.
“Hilton has zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind,” a company spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday, adding, “Through our extensive diversity and inclusion training program, we have made diversity and unconscious bias training mandatory for team members at all properties and corporate offices globally.”
In a statement issued to the network Wednesday, Vimal Kolappa, CEO of Washington Hospitality LLC and the owner of the Hampton Inn by Hilton Williamston, said company policy prior to Friday’s incident was to involve law enforcement if hotel staff were unable to verify an individual’s guest status.
“We now understand this process may have unnecessarily escalated this situation. We are truly sorry for the impact that this experience had on our guest and her family. We are making every effort to contact the guest directly, so that we can continue to listen to her experience, offer our apologies, and make this situation right,” Kolappa stated, noting law enforcement will only be called in the future if illegal activity is observed or employees and/or guests are threatened.
“We will ensure that our employees are trained to be able to clearly identify and de-escalate these situations,” he added.
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