Dirty Kanza founder fired for saying police shooting of Rayshard Brooks was 'justified'
Colin Strickland, winner of the Dirty Kanza 2019
Dirty Kanza's founder, Jim Cummins, was fired from the organizers of the popular gravel race via a social media post claiming that the shooting of a black man by the Atlanta police this week was "justified".
Cummins, who founded Dirty Kanza in 2006, was released from his role as "Chief Gravel Officer" on Saturday night by Life Time, the company that now runs the event.
He had posted on Facebook to talk about the murder of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot when police officers tried to arrest him on Friday. Brooks' death came at a time when repeated police murders of African Americans had led to protests against racism across America and the world.
Cummins, whose Facebook account has since been deleted, released another video of Daniel Clary's attempt to arrest two years ago, who shot and escaped two police officers. Cummins added the following message: "Watch this ENTIRE video. If you still believe that the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks after stealing the officer's taser and then using it against him does not have permission was to shoot Mr. Brooks ... then I'm rude now. "
Life Time, which also runs the Big Sugar and Crusher at the Tushar gravel events, made a statement later on Saturday.
"After reviewing the contribution of the founder of Dirty Kanza, we found it to be inappropriate and insensitive, and we, as an organization, oppose it. As a result of our investigation, we separated from this person." said.
"One of our basic principles is to offer all members, customers and team members a safe, trusting and respectful environment and at the same time to reject any prejudice or injustice towards others.
"We will continue to deal with all such matters with the same level of seriousness by conducting thorough reviews and acting every time we believe that our corporate policies have been violated."
Cummins had recently received allegations that the name Dirty Kanza was itself racist. Kanza can refer to the Kaw Nation, an Indian tribe, so the name of the event was read as a sheet by those requesting change. In April, Cummins signed an open letter to the race and Kaw Nation chairwoman Lynn Williams, in which both said they were "proud to stand side by side".
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