Gym Employees Call Police on Black Member, Guest

They thought member didn't pay
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2018 5:27 PM CDT
Updated Apr 20, 2018 1:33 AM CDT
Gym Employees Call Police on Black Member, Guest
A person leaves an LA Fitness gym, Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Secaucus, NJ.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Employees of an LA Fitness in New Jersey wrongly accused a black member and his guest of not paying to work out and called police, prompting an apology from the company. A spokeswoman for Fitness International, parent company of LA Fitness, told the AP that three employees directly involved in the incident are no longer with the company. Jill Greuling, executive vice president of operations, didn't say whether the three had been terminated. Tshyrad Oates posted video Monday night of the incident at the club in Secaucus, outside New York City in northern New Jersey. It shows his unidentified friend, who is a club member, talking to club employees while several police officers look on.

On his Facebook page, Oates, who was using a guest pass at the gym, wrote that he and his friend were asked to leave when an employee mistakenly contended the friend hadn't paid for his visit. "The front desk staff employee was confused and thought the member was a guest," Greuling wrote in an email. "The front desk employee who made the request was not working when this member checked in the first time, so she was unaware. Regrettably, from there our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it." The Irvine-Calif.-based company is considering ways to improve its training. (The incident follows a similar one at a Philadelphia Starbucks.)

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