UPDATED: Authorities Remove Man With Swastika Tattoo From Rumsey Pool

Councilmember Allen Issues Statement Saying 'Symbols of Hate Have No Place in Our Community'

A man with a swastika tattoo on his abdomen was asked to leave by staff at William H. Rumsey Aquatic Center (635 North Carolina Ave SE) at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon. DPR Director Keith Anderson said in a statement issued Monday afternoon that the individual had visible drawings on his body of swastikas, upside-down crosses, and "666". 

Several posts on social media indicated that the man was asked to leave the pool by the lifeguard, a young black man, who told the man his appearance was threatening and offensive to many of the users of the pool. Tensions escalated when the man with the tattoo responded angrily, in the process using a racial slur to describe the lifeguard.

WAMU reported that officers from District Protective Services, security providers for government buildings in the District, came to the scene and removed the man from the pool. 

In his statement, Anderson said that a glass panel in the door was broken when a second lifeguard attempted to assist in de-escalating the scene, but there was no physical contact between the man and either the other guests or the staff at the pool. The pool was closed for thirty minutes while the glass was removed.

Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) released a statement saying, "The symbols and language of hate have no place in our community. When the President of the United States lacks the courage to openly denounce hatred, it falls to each of us to do so. I call on all of us to speak up and reject symbols of hatred and bigotry wherever and whenever they appear. We cannot allow these symbols, these words, and these acts to become normalized."

Anderson said, "we want to reassure our guests that while the agency does not deny access to programs or facilities based on personal appearance, we do require that all guests and employees treat one another with respect."

Metropolitan Police Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

This post will be updated with comments from authorities as they are received.


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