“Other than her mouth, there’s not any weapons," the manager of a Pennsylvania golf course said when he called cops on a group of black women golfers, according to recently released 911 call recordings.
Steve Chronister, a manager of the Grandview Golf Course in Dover Township, made two calls to 911 on April 21 to complain that a group of five black women were holding up play, according to the York Daily Record. The incident sparked intense social media backlash.
Chronister is is a former York County president commissioner and his son and daughter-in-law own the course, according to the York Daily Record.
During one of the calls, the dispatcher asked if there were any weapons.
“It’s even worse than that, but anyway I can’t ...” Chronister started to say.
When asked to clarify, Chronister said, “Other than her mouth, there’s not any weapons.”
Chronister referred to one of the women by name: Sandra Thompson, an attorney and president of the NAACP’s York branch.
“She ran for judge. She’s an attorney. She knows it all,” Chronister told the dispatcher. “She totally thinks we’re being racist. We’re not being racist. We’re being golf course management that has to have play moving a certain way.”
When police arrived, management told them they weren’t needed, so they left, Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told the York Daily Record.
Thompson later told CBS News that it felt like “we were playing with targets on our backs.”
“What other reason could there be other than we were guilty of being black while golfing?” she continued. Thompson and her companions that day — Myneca Ojo, Karen Crosby, and sisters Sandra Harrison and Carolyn Dow — are members of a larger group of experienced female players known as Sisters in the Fairway, CBS reports.
Chronister made a second 911 call later that day, and again referred to Thompson specifically, commenting, “I want her off the golf course.” At that point, the group had dwindled down to two, after three of the women were so uncomfortable that they decided to leave early.
Chronister was asked again if any weapons were present. “No. Just her mouth,” he reiterated.
After police arrived and came to an agreement with management and the women that the situation was not a police matter, the women left and no charges were filed.
“We were called there for an issue, the issue did not warrant any charges. All parties left, and we left as well,” Bentzel told the York Daily Record.
JJ Chronister, the club’s co-owner, initially apologized for the incident in a statement released the day after it occurred, the York Daily Record reports. What happened, JJ Chronister wrote, “does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone. We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way.”
They released a second statement a few days later, however, in which club owners accused the group of taking an extended break.
“During the second conversation we asked members to leave as per our policy noted on the scorecard, voices escalated, and police were called to ensure an amicable resolution,” their statement read, according to the York Daily Record.
Thompson denied that her group caused any delay, telling ABC News, “I tried to explain to him that there was an hour delay, that it wasn’t us, that we were also delayed in our tee time. I tried to explain to him that he was accusing us of doing something that we weren’t doing and interfering with our enjoyment of the game.”
[Photo: Stock photo, via Getty Images]