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Police eject Black gay law professor and son from historically Black public pool after a Karen whined about their existence

Josh Milton July 24, 2020
Ghenete Wright Muir and her son were swimming laps in a Fort Lauderdale pool when a Karen traded barbs with them. (Screen capture via NBC6)

Ghenete Wright Muir and her son were swimming laps in a Fort Lauderdale pool when a Karen traded barbs with them. (Screen capture via NBC6)

A leading Black lesbian activist and law professor was escorted from a public pool in a historically Black facility after a “Karen” complained about her and her son daring to exist.

Three police officer skulked over towards the pool on a sun splashed-day. They ordered everyone to leave and the pool was shuttered.

All because a Karen went all, well, Karen on Ghenete Wright Muir, Black lesbian professor and prolific LGBT+ rights activist, and her son for swimming laps in the pool.

Wright Muir said the family was using the pool at Joseph C Carter Park, a historically Black facility in South Florida, Sunday (July 19) when a white woman objected

Both former competitive swimmers, the pair were training when another swimmer in the lane between them reportedly said: “You can’t talk over my lane,” Wright Muir told NBC6.

“I immediately asked the lifeguard if that was a rule, and she said there’s no such rule.”

The New York City native, who moved to Jamaica aged four before returning to the US, then asked the white woman, identified as Lani Kempner, to switch lanes so she could be near her son. She bluntly refused.

“She starts to complain to the lifeguard that she needs to do something about us,” she said. “She starts threatening her job saying she’s gonna talk to her supervisor.”

Staff announced that the pool was being closed down for the day and asked all patrons to vacate after Kempner threatened to phone the authorities. A spokesperson for the city’s manager’s office confirmed the lifeguard had called the police.

The lifeguard quit the same day because of what unfolded.

“Once I heard the police were on the way, I knew my son’s life was at risk…our lives were at risk,” Wright Muir wrote in a lengthy Facebook post later that day.

It had been a long time since my son and I enjoyed a few laps in the pool—with COVID-19 and all—so my son found a pool…

Posted by G Wright on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Armed Fort Lauderdale police eventually spilled onto the scene. Cops told Wright Muir and her son to leave the pool and the park and not return for 24 hours.

Bodycam footage showed her telling officers: “We were following the rules and it shouldn’t have come to this. It shouldn’t have come to police coming here.”

‘I believe calling the police at that point was an act of violence against me and my son.’

Wright Muir decried Kempner’s “relentless” tirade against her, explaining to officers what had happened.

“We told the police we needed to see her leave — simply because we are so used to being the ones who are disciplined and held to account while our white counterparts have no consequences for their actions,” she said.

As she and her son left the premises, they looked on as harried police tried to get Kempner out of the pool, who consistently refused. Both watched eagerly in the parking lot for Kempner to leave.

She never did.

“Black people just want to live our lives without having to be questioned, challenged and controlled,” she continued.

“This whole situation was a failure by everyone in authority – from the pool staff to the police who intervened. There will always be Karens and Lonnies, but we depend on those in charge to do the right thing.”

Wright Muir later told the outlet that the police should never have been called: “I believe calling the police at that point was an act of violence against me and my son.”

With Black Lives Matter protests inspiring people, businesses and authorities to reckon with racial biases, a steady drumbeat of encounters with Karens (no, it is not a slur) have been reported across the US, as citizens use mobile phones footage to expose (largely) white women perceived as entitled or discriminatory.

Karens have been seen in quiet, secluded areas of city parks, in bustling farmers markets and clinging to the barriers of Black Lives Matter protests. All wielded their privilege like a club to compel someone to back down.

More: Karen, police, racism, South Florica, US

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