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Statement from DPR Director - Keith A. Anderson on Incident at Rumsey Aquatic Center

Monday, August 14, 2017

DPR Customer Service: (202) 673-7647
DPR Media Contacts: John Stokes (202) 288-7275, [email protected]

On Sunday, August 13, there was an unfortunate incident at the Rumsey Aquatic Center at Eastern Market. While at no point was the safety of our guests at risk, the incident did involve an individual being asked to leave the facility due to offensive language and inappropriate behavior.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., an individual entered the facility and proceeded to the pool deck, where he sat down and began charging his electronic device. The individual had visible drawings on his body of swastikas, upside down crosses, and “666.” Several guests raised concerns to DPR lifeguards about the individual being on the pool deck, but not using the pool. A DPR lifeguard responded by trying to speak with the individual. At this point, the individual became irate, repeatedly and aggressively using offensive language towards the lifeguard. As the situation began to escalate, a second lifeguard intervened, and the police were called. Once officers from the Protective Services Division arrived, the individual was escorted out of the facility. The pool remained closed for about 30 minutes after the incident while staff cleaned up glass from a door window that was accidentally broken while the second lifeguard was assisting with deescalating the situation. To be clear, there was no physical contact between the individual who was asked to leave and any staff or guests at the facility.

Going forward, we will continue to stand by and promote our DC values of inclusivity and diversity. DPR’s mission is to provide universal access to parks and recreation services. 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. DPR thanks the members of the community who offered our lifeguards support during and after this disturbing incident.

About DPR

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) provides quality urban recreation and leisure services for residents and visitors to the District of Columbia. DPR supervises and maintains area parks, community facilities, swimming pools and spray parks, and neighborhood recreation centers. The agency also coordinates a wide variety of recreation and educational programs including sports leagues, youth development, therapeutic recreation, aquatic programming, outdoor adventure, camping, and senior citizen activities. Adaptive programs and facilities are available for persons with disabilities.

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