A North Carolina real estate company has reversed its decision to fire one of its employees seen in a viral video accused of racial profiling after new information emerged.
The clip shows a confrontation between realtor Keller Williams Kim Barnhart and a group of people at a neighborhood swimming pool in Raleigh.
The clip shows Barnhart telling the group, which includes two blacks and a Latina, that she knows some of them don’t live in the area and shouldn’t be drinking in the pool.
When asked how she knows this, Barnhart replies, “Because I was here when this neighborhood was built, and I know every single person who bought here.”
The pool was closed to anyone except local residents as part of COVID-19 restrictions.
Curt Hamilton, a Raleigh resident, posted the footage on social media, saying he had been “racially profiled and thrown out of a neighborhood swimming pool”.
Hamilton said police showed up at the scene but informed the woman she was doing nothing wrong as rules prohibiting people from bringing guests into the pool no longer applied as lockdown restrictions were relaxed.
Barnhart defended her actions, saying she was only trying to enforce pool rules.
“When I got there, there was a big group of teenagers I had never seen before, not one of them,” Barnhart told WRAL. “I asked them who lived in the neighborhood, did any of them live in the neighborhood, and at that point they all looked at each other, and no one said yes.
“They were mooning me, raising their middle fingers,” she said. “They surround my car. I had to get in my car and roll up my windows telling them that if they don’t listen to me, I should call the police.”
Barnhart also said it was “absolutely wrong” that she referred to any of the races in the group or told them to “go home”.
In a statement earlier this month, Keller Williams Raleigh said they were aware of the incident involving one of their agents.
“Each office is independently owned and operated and the Keller Williams agent in question is not affiliated with our company. Keller Williams Raleigh stands against all social injustice and inequality,” the statement read.
Barnhart was fired following an investigation by Keller Williams. Team leader Eric Anderson has now said the company is “reversing the dismissal of Kim Barnhart”, after receiving “new information and a video”.
Anderson said the video showed people at the pool breaking the rules and acting unruly. He added that there was “absolutely no evidence” that Barnhart used racial slurs against those at the pool.
“If you do something wrong, own up to it. Don’t make up stories,” Anderson said.
Keller Williams has been contacted for further comment.
However, in an updated statement to NewsweekKeller Williams retracted Anderson’s claims about Barnhart’s return to work, saying they were given before a final decision was made.
“We have decided to dissociate ourselves from Kim Barnhart while we further investigate the facts of this matter,” said Gina Benthuysen, CEO of Raleigh, North Carolina-based Keller Williams Preferred, a Keller Williams brokerage. .