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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Golf Club That Called the Police on Black Women For Not “Keeping the Pace” Faces Business Backlash

Sandra Thompson, Myneca Ojo, Sandra Harrison, Carolyn Dow, and Karen Crosby

Sandra Thompson, Myneca Ojo, Sandra Harrison, Carolyn Dow, and Karen Crosby are paid members of the golf club

York, PA — Five black women were unjustly kicked off Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania for allegedly golfing “too slow”. The golf club even called the police twice to remove them. Now, the club has been facing business backlash and is also expected to undergo investigation.

The women — Sandra Thompson, 50 years old; Myneca Ojo, 56 years old; sisters Sandra Harrison, 59 years old, and Carolyn Dow, 56 years old, and Karen Crosby, 58 years old — were playing for the first time in a jampacked course on April 21 under a new discounted membership and they were the only group of African Americans and women. They said they experienced racial and gender discrimination.

The next day, Thompson, a lawyer, the president of NAACP York branch, and the vice chair of the county Democratic Party, posted their experience on Facebook. She said they were on their second hole when former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, whose son, Jordan, and daughter-in-law, JJ, own the golf club, told them they were playing too slow and offered a refund of their membership for them to leave.

Thompson added that aside from being professionals, they are all members of a large organization for black female golfers called Sisters in the Fairway. She also claimed there are witnesses that could prove they were at the same pace with everyone else in the course.

According to police records, police were called at 11:24 a.m. But after the management confronted the group, Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said the police were told they were not needed anymore. Thompson neither had an idea that the police had been called at that time.

At 1:26 p.m., police were called again. Steve and his son Jordan, with several other white men, confronted them again, saying they have five minutes to leave and that police have been called.

Police came but also left. “We were called there for an issue, the issue did not warrant any charges,” Bentzel said in a statement. “All parties left and we left as well.”

Subsequently, a lot of the club’s business vendors were disappointed about the management’s behavior and were beginning to bail. Jacob Hamill, the president of Casta Cigars Co., a boutique cigar shop that had previous business with Grandview, posted his reaction on Facebook.

“The incident that transpired at Grandview Golf Club was unacceptable and does not align with the values of Casta Cigars. Our shop on East King Street is a diverse and welcome place for anybody to enjoy a cigar. To be clear, our affiliation with Grandview was a one-time transaction made months ago and although we can’t predict the behavior of our customers, we will prohibit any future sales to Grandview Golf Club.”

State Senator Vincent J. Hughes called for an investigation for racial and gender discrimination and wrote to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. He also expressed his support to the women.

“I’m just so damned frustrated,” Hughes said in a statement. “We have to deal with situations like this too frequently. This time, police determined it was not a matter they should have been involved in, but it is appalling that someone would call the police for a non-violent incident where the only crime was being black on a public golf course.”