A woman from Raleigh, North Carolina, is facing an online backlash after being accused of racially profiling her neighbors. The woman, a real estate agent, called the police on the neighbors, saying she knew everyone who lived in the neighborhood. She is now pursuing legal action against those involved after she and her employer received a barrage of negative comments and abuse on social media.
The videos, which are being widely circulated on social media, show a confrontation between the woman, identified as Kim Barnhart, and her neighbors at a community swimming pool earlier this month after she accused them of trespassing.
'I Know Everyone Who Lives Here'
The first clip starts off with Barnhart arguing with the neighbors, including the woman recording the video. "I know who lives here and who doesn't," she tells the woman, who then asks her "How do you know that I don't live here?"
"I was here when this neighborhood was built and I know every single person who bought in here," Barnhart responds, before adding that she's been a resident of the complex for a decade.
Only Residents Allowed to Use the Pool
Barnhart, who works as a real estate agent for Keller Williams and is on the homeowners association board for the residential complex where the incident took place, said she received a call from a resident reporting that a group of teenagers who did not appear to live in the neighborhood were at drinking by the pool and given the current pandemic situation, the complex only allows residents to use the pool.
In the second clip, Barnhart can be heard telling the group that they do not live there and that they're going to close the pool before claiming she knows because she's "on the board."
The group claimed that they "got racially profiled and thrown out of a neighbourhood pool." The group included two people, an African-American and a Latina (the woman who appears to have shot the video). Both were residents of the complex.
"I do live here," the woman recording says in the video. "Don't you ever come out to me and comment about where I came from. You're a racist fâking prick." The woman later tweeted that Barnhart called the cops on them and told her mom she didn't live there either.
The woman's mother alleges Barnhart told them "they don't belong here" and asked her, 'Why don't you go back to Mexico?"
'Don't Make Up Stories,' Says Barnhart's Company
Keller Williams Chief Executive Gary Keller posted online on July 2 that the company was setting up a task force to come up with plans "to eliminate any racial disparity within our company, our industry, and how we can lead the way in the communities where we live and work."
The following day, the company posted that it was investigating Barnhart's actions in light of the viral video. Team leader Eric Anderson said Monday that Keller Williams was "retracting the termination of Kim Barnhart," noting that company officials had "some new information and video" about the Raleigh incident.
Anderson said it was clear from the video that the crowd at the pool was breaking rules and behaving poorly and that there was "absolutely no evidence" that Barnhart uttered any racial slurs. "If you're doing something wrong, own it. Don't make up stories," he said about the crowd at the pool.
Cease and Desist Notice
Barnhart has since sent a cease and desist notice to the Latina woman claiming that she is a respected member of the community and has been subject to derogatory comments and abuse on social media.
Barnhart demanded written assurance from the woman within five days that all "slanderous and defamatory statements posted on various websites and social media platforms for myself and my employer will be retracted and removed to prevent serious irreparable harm for which they could be sued."