By IVAN PEREIRA and SASHA PEZENIK, ABC News
(WILLIAMSTON, N.C.) — A Hampton Inn employee has been fired after she called the police on a Black family staying at the hotel and using the pool.
A representative from Hilton, which owns Hampton Inn, said the unidentified white employee at its Williamston, North Carolina, location was no longer working there after a guest, Anita Williams-Wright, livestreamed the incident on Friday. Williams-Wright was in the hotel’s pool with her children when the employee and two officers approached her under suspicion that they weren’t guests.
“I have a key to get in and I can show you that it works,” Williams-Wright says to the officers in the nearly 10-minute video posted to her Facebook page. “I have a room here.”
Williams-Wright didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the police report, the two officers arrived at the hotel’s front desk and spoke to an employee who said she was doing rounds and “found two children playing in the pool by themselves.” She spoke to the children, who said their mother, Williams-Wright, was watching them from a nearby car.
The employee is seen in the video explaining to Williams-Wright that she wanted to make sure that everyone in the pool was a guest, however, the mother claimed that there were white guests who were in the pool at the same time and they weren’t asked to validate their stay.
“She said to me, ‘Oh, because it’s always people like you using the pool unauthorized.’ Who [are] people like me?” Williams-Wright said in the video.
The responding lieutenant asked the employee what she wanted to do, wherein she is quoted as reading from her phone that “her manager wanted the people arrested,” according to the police report. This line cannot be heard in the video.
Williams-Wright refused to provide officers with identification other than her room key, saying she committed no crime, but the officers are seen in the video checking her car’s license plate. The video ends with her and her family leaving the pool and returning to her room.
Police went to the front desk after obtaining Williams-Wright’s name from her car license plate and found out she had two rooms reserved at the hotel, according to the police report.
“The Williamston Police Department takes the complaint process very seriously and has initiated an internal investigation surrounding our response to this call for service,” the department said in a statement. “Our office will conduct a thorough and complete internal investigation. We appreciate the public’s concern and efforts to make us aware of this incident.”
The department also said in releasing the police report Tuesday that the case’s status was categorized as “unfounded.”
Shruti Gandhi Buckley, the global head of Hampton by Hilton, said in a statement the company’s administrators were alerted to the video and incident over the weekend and when they contacted the Williamston managers on Sunday, they learned the employee in the video was no longer working there.
She added that Hilton reached out to Williams-Wright, apologized to her and her family and are working “to make this right.”
“We remain in contact with the hotel’s ownership about follow up actions, and to ensure that in the future, their employees reflect the best values of our brand and are welcoming of all,” Gandhi Buckley said in a statement.
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