Sonoco Products Co., which makes plastics packaging and recycles plastics, has parted ways with an employee following a July 4 incident at a neighborhood pool that grabbed the nation's attention via social media.
The Hartsville, S.C.-based company, in an open letter at the top of its website and in social media, apologized to Jasmine Edwards and her family following a confrontation at the Glenridge Community Pool in Winston-Salem, N.C.
A man can be seen in a video shot by Edwards, and first posted on Facebook, in a confrontation as police try to sort out the situation. Edwards, who is black, said the man, who is white, called police because he did not know if she lived in the neighborhood and was allowed to use the pool.
"Where does it say I have to show an I.D. to use my own pool?" Edwards asked on the video. "I feel this is racial profiling. I'm the only black person here with my son in the pool. And he walked only to me to ask for my I.D.," Edwards said.
"This is ridiculous," she said. "I'm just here with my baby, swimming."
Police responding to the conflict confirmed Edwards' pool card allowed her access to the facility and apologized to her "for the time and the altercation that occurred."
"She has her swipe cart, I think that should be enough to prove that she's a resident," a police officer told the man in the video.
Edwards asked the man in the video if he was going to apologize. He did not in the video she posted to Facebook. "Racial profiling at its worst!" Edwards alleged under the video.
Followers on social media identified the man as an employee of Sonoco through a LinkedIn page, which has since been removed, and a growing number of people began contacting Sonoco.
By the morning of July 6, Sonoco responded.
"The well-documented incident, which involves activities at a neighborhood pool over the Fourth of July, in no way reflects the core values of our company. To that end, effective immediately, the employee involved in this incident is no longer employed by the company in any respect," CEO Robert Tiede said in the letter.
"We extend our sincerest apologies to all who have been rightfully upset and directly impacted by this unacceptable incident, especially Mrs. Edwards and her family," the letter also states. "Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we navigate this unfortunate and difficult situation."