Police in North Carolina are investigating after a white apartment complex manager reportedly slapped and poured soda on a young Black boy for using the facility’s pool.
Kim Jennings, 62, was arrested and charged on Aug. 3 with two counts of assault on a child under 12. She is accused of throwing soda on 11-year-old Jace Lee-Eury, and hitting him in the face with a bottle outside of the residents-only pool, The Daily Mail reported.
The now-viral incident was caught on video, prompting police to respond to multiple reports of an assault at the Sedgefield Garden Apartments in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jace and his little sister visited the complex several times to use the pool. He told local media that Jennings pulled the young girl’s hair during the heated exchange with them.
WFMY reported there were “no trespassing” signs around the complex. Jennings said the children had been there several times and told them to leave. The 62-year-old issued a statement apologizing for her actions, saying she should have handled the situation “differently.”
“The other day, when he was out there, we asked him to leave, and he was mouthy, and I just, I had a soda in my hand, and I tossed it on him, and then I popped him. I did, I admit I did, and it was wrong,” the statement read.
“When you’ve done it and you’ve done it and you’ve done it and you’ve asked him not to come back. I just reacted. But, I will say that I’m sorry that I did that. I should’ve handled it differently.”
When police arrived at the complex, they spoke to the two children Jennings had assaulted. The young boy’s version of the story is slightly different. He said the 62-year-old never told him or his sister they couldn’t use the pool.
“She said not to come back this time. The other time she never said not to come back, so that’s why we kept going,” Jace said.
The young boy’s father, Robert Lee-Eury, said his mother allowed the children to use the pool since it was next to her complex.
“Grandma allowed them to go to the pool because it’s literally right in the next complex through the field, less than a two-minute walk,” he told the outlet.
The video sparked outrage on social media, and the family initiated a small protest outside the apartment complex. Jace’s parents said they disagreed with how Jennings handled the situation.
“This is child abuse,” Jace’s mom, Joella Lee, said.
“You don’t need to put your hands on nobody’s child at all. It isn’t your responsibility,” Robert said. “There is a different way to go about it.”
Meanwhile, Jennings told WFMY the complex’s owners support her effort to uphold the facility’s rules.
She will appear in court next month.