Golfing While Black Is the Newest “Crime” In York, PA’s Public Accommodations.
Public accommodations are places meant for use by the public. They may include restaurants, shops, golf courses, libraries, or any other public place. Even places requiring memberships may be considered public accommodations under the law.
Discrimination in public accommodations occurs when people are refused service or treated unfairly due to race, color, religion, or other protected reasons under the law. Federal and state laws protect all people from discrimination in public places. These laws prohibit owners, managers, employees, and even customers and patrons from discriminating against customers in any way.
Who Are the Grandview 5?
On April 21, 2018, five black women went to the Grandview Golf Course to play golf for the day. Myneca Ojo, Sandra Thompson, Karen Crosby, Sandra Harrison, and Carolyn Dow had been playing golf together on different courses for several years.
However, in 2017, they decided they would find one golf course to call home. The Grandview was a semi-private club and was the oldest in the country. The golf course also happened to be in their backyard in York, PA.
In 2017, the women applied for membership and were approved. April 21, 2018, was the first time they used their membership at the club. Once they began playing, the harassment ensued.
How Did Black People Golfing Lead to Color Discrimination?
The women were held up at a hole because the players ahead of them were still on the green. No one complained. However, the owner, Steve Chronister, approached the women to tell them they were not keeping pace.
Ms. Thompson claims she attempted to explain to Mr. Chronister that the group ahead of them was still on the green. Mr. Chronister allegedly ignored the claim and asked the five women to leave. He even offered to refund their membership.
When the five women refused to leave, Mr. Chronister called the police. By the time the police arrived, the women were at hole five. Mr. Chronister told the responding officer the women had caught up, and the problem was over.
However, that was not the end of the humiliation or harassment from the owner of Grandview. Ninety minutes later, the owner called the police again, claiming the women were causing a problem.
This time, the five women took a 20-minute bathroom and water break after the ninth hole, a customary practice in golf. When they returned, the owner and his managers were waiting for the women by the green. These men told the women that they violated the rules and needed to leave. The police were called and investigated the issue.
The five African American women gathered their items and left. They felt bullied, threatened, humiliated, and harassed by the owner and his team at Grandview. These women lost a bit of the love they had for the game that day.
Before leaving, they captured the entire second incident on camera, ensuring evidence of their story.
What Are the Claims Made by the Grandview Five in Legal Filings?
Many may consider the blatant race discrimination a hate crime against the African American women on the golf course. The complaint against the Grandview Golf Course claimed acts of racism and sexism violating federal and Pennsylvania laws regarding discrimination in public places.
Attorney Ian Bryson of the Derek Smith Law Group represents Ms. Harrison and Ms. Dow in the lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania District Court. His clients believe that males of any color or white women would never have experienced the bullying and harassment they endured. Yet, as black women, they know they were targeted simply for being women of color.
The complaint alleges race and color discrimination as well as gender discrimination in public accommodations. However, Mr. Bryson’s clients are not merely looking for financial compensation.
The club released a statement apologizing for the way the women were treated. Still, Ms. Harrison and Ms. Dow want the owner of the Grandview Golf Course to apologize for his behavior publicly. Therefore, they are asking for a declaratory judgment (a declaration of wrongdoing) as well as monetary damages.
Do Not Let Discrimination Take Over Your Life!
All people are welcome to legally enjoy public spaces as long as they are not breaking the law. Golfing while black is not an illegal activity. If you are discriminated against in public accommodations, the experienced discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group can help.
Call (800) 807-2209 or fill out our online form for your free consultation today. We can help you file your lawsuit and get the justice you deserve.