Woman who recorded viral pool incident in Winston-Salem releases statement

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The woman who recorded the viral swimming pool incident in Winston-Salem which involved a man who was allegedly being racist (watch video below) has released a statement.

Jasmine Abhulimen released a statement on Sunday through attorney Eric S. Ellison on the video.

Abhulimen, listed on Facebook as Jasmine Edwards, recently posted footage of the now-viral footage to Facebook, writing, "This is a classic case of racial profiling in my half a million $$ neighborhood pool."

It shows 40-year-old Adam Bloom asking Abhulimen at the Glenridge Community Swimming Pool for proof that she lived in the neighborhood.

She gave him her address, but declined to give him her ID and he called the police.

Bloom has since lost his job after a massive backlash once the video was posted to social media.

Abhulimen’s entire statement is below:

The Abhulimen family’s paramount objective is to raise their children in a safe and inclusive environment. To that end, my client will engage in a private capacity with the Glenridge Homeowners Association to address this racial profiling incident and ultimately ensure that Glenridge is a community that reflects the values of a safe and inclusive environment. However, they do feel the need to clarify some misleading statements stated by Mr. Adam Bloom in his public comments.

It should be noted, that Mr. Adam Bloom immediately “resigned” as a Glenridge HOA Board member and as the HOA pool Director. The day following the incident, the Glenridge Homeowners Association issued a statement declaring that in the “coming days, we will take additional steps to ensure consistent and equitable application of our pool policies and procedures.”   In addition to the statements from the Glenridge HOA following the incident, my client wish to also note the efforts of several of the Glenridge community members who witnessed this incident prior to Mr. Bloom calling the police.  It should be noted that several residents that were present during the blatant and insensitive behavior of Mr. Bloom pleaded with him not to call the police. Upon noticing that Mr. Bloom had singled-out Mrs. Abhulimen for identification, they stepped up and informed Mr. Bloom that Mrs. Abhulimen was a member of the Glenridge community and offered comfort and support to Mrs. Abhulimen during and after the traumatic incident. To those members of the Glenridge community, the Abhulimen Family extends its sincere gratitude for their support during and after the incident and thank them all for truly being a neighbor.

Since being terminated from his employment, Mr. Adam Bloom has issued several misleading statements and interviews. Although he has declared some remorse and sorrow for the incident, there is a need for clarification.

Before the video recording started, Mrs. Abhulimen had been in the pool for a few hours with her son.   She used her HOA -issued pool card to gain entry to the gated pool.

Mr. Bloom’s profiling and singling-out of Mrs. Abhulimen started from when he approached Mrs. Abhulimen and pointedly demanded for her to “verify her address”. Mrs Abhulimen provided her correct address in a polite and respectful manner. Mr. Bloom then went further and demanded an identification from my client.  At this point, Mrs. Abhulimen, asked if ID was a requirement for usage of the community pool. She informed him that she had legal access with her pool pass.  Mr. Bloom stated that he knew all the residents in the neighborhood (but did not know my client) and as such demanded that my client and her son leave the pool.  He was resolute about his demand and threatened to call the police if my client did not comply to his demand.

Other members of the neighborhood that witnessed the encounter were appalled by the demand from Mr. Bloom and questioned why he was demanding identification from my client.  Several Glenridge members approached Mr. Bloom and informed him that Mrs. Abhulimen did in fact reside in the Glenridge community and that he was making a mistake. Mr. Bloom ignored their pleas and proceeded to call 911 and informed the police that Mrs. Abhulimen was a “non-resident who refused to leave”. While waiting for the police to arrive, Mrs. Abhulimen was brought to tears.

It should be noted that during the video, Mrs. Abhulimen produced her pool entry card for the police officer and confirmed to the officer’s satisfaction that she had a legal right to be at the pool.  Mr. Bloom informed the police officer that he was “satisfied for today”.  Further, he informed the police officer that “they kinda make their way around sometimes” and still refused to apologize to Mrs. Abhulimen.  The Abhulimen Family takes issue with Mr. Bloom’s claim that he was satisfied “for today” and his reference to “they kinda make their way around sometimes”.

Based on Mr. Bloom rude and demeaning attitude before and during the  video recording, his repeated demand to see her ID when she was the only African American present, even after several community members confirmed Mrs. Abhulimen’s residence, his false claims to the 911 operator, and his refusal to issue an apology, can lead to only one conclusion – Mr. Bloom treated Mrs. Abhulimen rudely and unfairly due to her race and Mrs. Jasmine Abhulimen was racially profiled.

My client looks forward to working with the Glenridge HOA to build an even better community where everyone feels safe. However, they take exception with Mr. Bloom’s attempted apology and his dismissive attitude exhibited before, during, and after the video recording. The Abhulimen Family wishes that all types of racial profiling and unnecessarily calling the police on African Americans would immediately stop throughout the nation.

Bloom's attorney, Jon C. Vermitsky, also released a statement, last week:

"I am writing this letter on behalf of my client, Adam Bloom, who has been the subject of a great deal of media attention in the last 24 hours. For the last seven years, Mr. Bloom has been the Pool Chair for his local homeowner's association. In that capacity he works to hire tlw lifeguards, hire staff to maintain and clean the pool, and work with members to set and enforce the pool rules and regulations.

The regulations in place at the pool in question include only allowing neighborhood residents access to the pool. These regulations are necessary as people frequently engage in behaviors that are either unfair or unsafe for fellow pool members, such as smoking on the pool deck, excessive drinking, or misuse of memberships by passing around pool cards and allowing non-members access to
the pool.

When violations of these regulations occur, it is Mr. Bloom's job to either address and correct the violation or remove the member from the pool. Over the past seven years Mr. Bloom has had to ask for IDs of pool patrons and removed those who did not have valid memberships an average of four times every season, in an effort to enforce the pool's adopted regulations. The people removed have included people of all ages and races.

For example, Mr. Bloom had to remove an individual who tried to enter the pool without membership because that individual mistakenly believed working with the swim team afforded the individual use of the pool. He has also had to remove non-members who mistakenly believed they were allowed to enter the pool if they shared the membership cards of actual members. Mr. Bloom further has had to enforce the pool's regulations and remove people for excessive intoxication as well as other violations of the pool rules. In each of these incidents, Mr. Bloom has enforced the rules regardless of the age, sex, or race of the individuals involved.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bloom's enforcement of the pool's regulations recently became problematic. Over the recent Fourth of July holiday, a fellow board member approached Mr. Bloom with concerns regarding one of the pool patrons, who was later revealed to be Ms. Jasmine Edwards. This board member alleged that Ms. Edwards was not familiar to her, so the board member asked Ms. Edwards for her address. When the board member asked where she lived, Ms. Edwards allegedly gave her an address on a road in the neighborhood where houses were not yet built.

This could have been a misunderstanding on the woman's part. Nonetheless, it was relayed to Mr. Bloom. The woman then asked Mr. Bloom to verify Ms. Edwards' address and her pool membership. Normally, the pool would have had a sign in sheet, where pool members list their name and address and which Mr. Bloom could have referenced; unfortunately, the sign in sheet was not set out that day.

In discharge of his duty, Mr. Bloom approached Ms. Edwards and asked her for her address. Ms. Edwards gave Mr. Bloom a different address than the one she told the other board member. We know now that this was, in fact, Ms. Edward's correct address. However, having received conflicting information on Ms. Edward's address, Mr. Bloom politely asked to see Ms. Edwards' ID to verify the address so the issue could be concluded and everyone could get back to enjoying the Fourth of July.

At this point, Ms. Edwards accused Mr. Bloom of racial profiling. Not wanting a confrontation to escalate, Mr. Bloom called the non-emergency police number to allow a neutral third party to resolve the situation. Once the police arrived, Ms. Edwards began the video that has since gone viral on social media. As a result of the incomplete and misleading video of these events and the
social media frenzy that followed, Mr. Bloom has received death threats, lost his job, and been forced to resign from the homeowner's association. He has had to leave his home for a safe location for him, his wife, and his three small children.

Racism, both systemic and individual, is a pervasive problem in this country. Too often in the news we see this play out in situations where people unjustly target African Americans and other minorities for no reason other than the color of their skin. This type of behavior is abhorrent, wrong, and has no place in a free country. No one deserves to be discriminated against for her race. Unfortunately, Ms. Edwards felt that she had been over the Fourth of July holiday. This was not Mr. Bloom's intent. Mr. Bloom wants Ms. Edwards to feel welcome at the pool and is deeply regretful if his enforcement of the rules appeared to be racially motivated. Mr. Bloom feels terrible for the pain this must have caused Ms. Edwards and her family. Mr. Bloom's intentions during this incident were to enforce the pool's rules uniformly, without preference or prejudice.

No one deserves to be judged solely based on an isolated incident, taken out of context. I hope the readers of this letter instead choose the American principle of fairness before passing judgment on Mr. Bloom."