Two black women who had the cops called on them at a Pennsylvania golf course in 2018 for allegedly playing “too slow” can now move forward with a racial and gender discrimination lawsuit against the course’s owners.
Myneca Ojo and Karen Crosby filed a federal lawsuit against Brew Vino LLC, owners of the Grandview Golf Course in York, Penn., on Monday, reports CNN. They were part of a group of five women, who called themselves “Sisters in the Fairway,” that regularly golfed together. The lawsuit alleges that the golf course owners singled them out, accusing them of not following proper golf etiquette, and called the police on them because they were black women.
Ojo and Crosby decided to go forward with the lawsuit after the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission reviewed their case and found the women had probable cause to believe they were “profiled, harassed, evicted and subjected to different terms and conditions of service” because of their race and gender.
The incident occurred just over two years ago. As they described it to the York Daily Record at the time, the women were approached by Steve Chronister, who identified himself as the owner of the course, when they were just on the second hole of the course.
“He said, ‘You’re going too slow. I’ll give you a refund,’ as if he didn’t want us as members,” Thompson told the Daily Record.
The women played on through the first nine holes. Unbeknownst to them, Chronister had already called a police officer to the golf course, but told the cop not to confront the women because they had moved ahead, the lawsuit says. Still, shaken up by the interaction, three of the five women decided to stop playing after completing the first half of the course.
Myneca Ojo and Sandra Thompson decided to continue on to the back nine, where they bumped into another group who arrived at the 10th tee at the same time as them, according to the lawsuit. The other group told Ojo and Thompson to go ahead since they were going to take a break. When the women began playing, they were confronted by Jordan Chronister, a golf course employee and Steve Chronister’s son, who told them they couldn’t “cut people off.”
Ojo, Thompson, and the other golf group attempted to explain the situation, but their discussions quickly escalated as more golf course employees arrived on the scene, threatening to call the cops on them if they didn’t leave.
Video taken of the confrontation went viral, a harbinger of the kind of tense escalations that cropped up across the country that year: white people overreacting to innocuous “offenses” by black people and calling the cops on them.
During the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission’s hearing, a member of the other golfing group said he didn’t feel as though the women were delaying his group, and that it seemed as though the women were being targeted.
Crosby told CNN this week that the incident ended up discouraging them from continuing to play golf together.
“This is a small area and there was a lot of attention brought to it, we just didn’t feel comfortable doing it,” she said. With the lawsuit underway, she’s encouraged that she and her golfing buddies will have “some sort of closure to this situation.”
“Hopefully this year we will be able to play again once this dies down. We’d like to.”