A family was forced to leave the lake inside the gated community where they live in Pennsylvania after two white women confronted them over not having a resident ID.
Katherine Jimenez, her two sons, and her nieces were swimming on June 28 at Beech Mountain Lakes in Drums, Pennsylvania, when they were kicked out of the area after two white women called security and threatened to call the police.
Karen Belair and Karen Amici, who both worked at the private lake, called an armed security guard because Jimenez, a 29-year-old nurse, did not have her resident card with her.
As the two Karens questioned Jimenez about her right to use the lake in front of her sons Timothy, 11, and Amir, 8, as well as her nieces Jasmine and Desiree, both 18, a witness began to film the encounter.
Jimenez said that at first she was told it was fine that she did not have her card with her.
“It was a hot Sunday afternoon and I had this young girl approach me and ask me for my resident’s card. I said that I didn’t have it but that I knew my account number. She said that was fine and gave me a bracelet,” Jimenez said to Daily Mail.
But later, after the children had gotten into the water, she was confronted by recreation supervisor Karen Belair.
“I explained that I had my car with me which has my current resident sticker on it. She told me that I had to leave and get my resident’s card,” Jimenez said. However, when she refused to leave, Belair called over the acting general manager Karen Amici.
Despite the fact that Jimenez could provide her resident number and had a resident sticker on her car, the two women also called over a security guard who questioned Jimenez in front of her children and nieces about her right to use the lake.
“They threatened to call the cops to kick me out of my own community,” Jimenez said. “We were denied to be in the places that we paid for and it was obviously because of our skin tone and the way we speak.”
Jimenez said she had lived in the northeastern Pennsylvania community for four years.
In the footage captured by Samantha Ashby, a 35-year-old a white woman, Belair says she has no way of knowing Jimenez and her family are “valid.”
But Ashby points out that none of the white guests had been asked to show their resident cards.
“I’ll walk around the beach right now and ask how many people had to show their membership cards and I guarantee you it won’t be many,” she said in the video. “I am a white girl and no one said anything to me. They happen to be the only family of color at the beach and you’re messing with them.”
Amici and Belair referred to Ashby, Jimenez and her family as a “sister gang.”
Eventually, Jimenez’s partner Timothy Roane, a 32-year-old maintenance supervisor, appears in the video, accusing the two Karens and the security guard of discrimination.
In a letter to the board of the gated community, Roane wrote that he was “appalled and disgusted by the treatment of my partner and children at the beach today by your staff.”
The couple also called for Amici and Belair to be fired and for their amenities fees to be refunded, but the board director declined both requests.
Jimenez said she received a hand-delivered apology letter from the board president a month after the incident occurred. The letter claimed disciplinary action had been taken against the two women.