A Texas City mother is speaking out after she says she and her kids were kicked out of their neighborhood pool, and even threatened with jail time.
Tramica Thomas said the incident unfolded Saturday when she took her five children to the pool at Lago Mar, a master-planned community in the Houston metro area. She said her kids were excited, as it was their first time visiting the pool.
Within 15 minutes of their being there, however, Thomas claims she and her family were profiled. The mother, who’s African-American, told ABC13 the family was relaxing poolside and having a good time when a lifeguard approached and accused her of having too many guests.
“He asked ‘Well, who are these guys in front of me right here??’ ” Thomas recalled. “I said ‘I don’t know who they are.’ Mind you, they were black, but they weren’t with me.”
She said the conversation ended there and she figured the matter was resolved — that is, until a Texas City police officer arrived.
Thomas said the cop asked her name and ordered her out of the pool. When she asked why, he replied: “Well, the lifeguards are requesting you to leave.” Thomas denied the lifeguards, two of whom were on duty, ever asked her to leave. Still, her family was escorted from the pool by police.
Much of the incident was captured on video taken by Thomas herself. At one point, she said the officer threatened to take her and her husband to jail because they didn’t leave fast enough.
“I am filled with so much hurt and frustration!!!” she wrote in a Facebook post. “What was supposed to be a nice family fun day turned into a horrible and tragic memory!!!!”
Thomas said that though “there was so much hate and ignorance displayed today, I’m so glad we still have some good people out here,” referencing a white man and his family who she said intervened on their behalf after he saw they were being targeted by police.
“Though we didn’t know him, he stood up for what was right,” she added.
In statement to ABC13, the Largo Mar Homeowner’s Association board of directors addressed the incident, saying Thomas and her family were asked to leave due to their “unruly and unsafe behavior.”
“The safety of our residents is our top priority, the pool’s rules and regulation are in place to protect all residents and their guests,” the board said. “After several polite requests to follow pool rules and to supervise their underage guests, the lifeguard on duty asked the resident to leave. This request was for the safety of their unsupervised children as well as the other pool patrons.”
The HOA said issues began when one of Thomas’ toddlers started struggling in the water and had to be saved by a lifeguard. The Texas woman said that wasn’t the case; it was her 6-year-old daughter, who was wearing a floatie, and didn’t receive help from the lifeguards.
“She went to the edge of the pool and was holding on to the concrete and was needing help to actually get out of the pool,” Thomas told ABC13.
The outraged mother said there’s plenty of security video to corroborate her story and she believes she and her family were targeted for the simple fact that they’re Black.
“If someone is targeting based off of race, they shouldn’t be working here because this is a diverse community,” Thomas said.
The family has since filed a citizen’s complaint against the officer in question as Texas City police investigate the incident.
Watch more in the video below.