A man who called police on a group of black women golfing at a Pennsylvania club told dispatchers that he wasn’t being racist, but in the same breath told them that there weren’t any weapons “other than her mouth.”
Ah, the lovely intersection of racism and sexism.
Recently released 911 calls posted by the York Daily Record clue the listener in to the interaction between former York County, Pa., Commissioner Steve Chronister and dispatchers.
“No weapons or anything like that, right?” the dispatcher asked, apparently trying to assess the situation.
“It’s even worse than that, but anyway, I can’t ... ,” Chronister started to respond.
But we all know that police can’t (and shouldn’t) be misinformed in situations like this, so the dispatcher cut in to clarify if there were any weapons.
“OK, sir, there’s no weapons, right?” the dispatcher asked, again.
“No,” Chronister said. “Other than her mouth, there’s not any weapons.”
A black woman using her words in an attempt to defend herself and her friends is apparently akin to a weapon. The more you know.
The five black women in question were just trying to meet up for a nice round of golf on a nice day at Grandview Golf Club. But that was quickly ruined. Sandra Thompson, an attorney and the head of the York NAACP, said that she and her party were on the second hole when Chronister complained that they were not keeping up with the pace of play.
Thompson insisted that this was not true, but she said they skipped the third hole to avoid any further confrontation.
No such luck, apparently. By the ninth hole, they were approached again by Chronister and several white male employees at the golf club and told that they had to leave. And somehow 911 ended up getting involved in the confrontation.
The women believe that they were racially profiled.
In the first phone call to 911, Chronister referred to Thompson specifically, saying that she told him that he couldn’t make them leave.
“She ran for judge. She’s an attorney. She knows it all,” Chronister told the dispatcher. “She totally thinks we’re being racist. We’re not being racist. We’re being golf course management that has to have play moving a certain way.
“We have a tough situation here with a group of golfers that decides they don’t want to abide by the rules,” he added, asking for an officer to come down to the course.
Apparently, he was infuriated that the women would not listen to him.
Dispatchers sent officers out, but when they arrived, management said they weren’t needed, Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said.
This was not good enough for Chronister, who called 911 again after the women had completed the ninth hole, demanding that an officer be sent back. He also seemed to target Thompson specifically with his remarks, the Daily Record notes.
“I want her off the golf course,” Chronister said, insisting that officers were “gonna have to get out here quickly.”
Again, when asked if they had weapons, Chronister quipped, “No. Just her mouth.”
Police met with the women and course management and determined that it was not an issue for police to get involved in, Bentzel said; however, the women left and no charges were filed.
Thompson, for her part, does not know why Chronister viewed her mouth as a weapon.
“I was never loud. I was never cursing. I was simply pointing out he was treating us differently,” she said.
“He saw a group of black women and told them to get off the course,” she added. “He racially profiled us. Would he have called the cops on a white group of golfers? Would he have done that to a white lawyer and judge candidate he knew? No.”
The golf course initially apologized to the women ... sorta ... for making them “uncomfortable” but later seemed to backtrack. In a statement following the initial apology, the golf course said:
The members did skip holes and took an extended break after the 9th hole. We spoke with them once about pace of play and then spoke with them a second time. During the second conversation, we asked members to leave as per our policy noted on the scorecard, voices escalated, and police were called to ensure an amicable resolution.
Nothing like a backpedal. And Thompson still does not know why club management called the cops or got the women to leave.
“There was no breach of law,” she said. “There was no criminal trespass. We weren’t doing anything but playing under our memberships. We paid. We wanted to play.”
But as you know, you apparently can’t do anything while being black in this country: not sitting in Starbucks, not having a cookout, not taking a nap, not conducting business ... oh, and definitely don’t try walking.