A woman who was caught on video yelling a racial slur at protesters in Stillwater has been fired from her job at Fantastic Sams in Maplewood, while her husband, a longtime corrections worker, has been placed on investigatory leave.
Attorney and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong posted video of the incident in which the woman, identified as Kimberly Beer, yells at protesters to leave, calling them the N-word as they protested and held a church service outside Washington County Attorney Pete Orput's home in Stillwater on Sunday.
The owner of Fantastic Sams Cut and Color hair salon in Maplewood posted on Facebook Monday saying the woman in the video had been let go but did not identify her.
"Regarding the video of one of our employees using racial slurs…this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The person in this video is no longer an employee of Fantastic Sams Maplewood. We understand that these words are deeply offensive and hurtful and we want everyone to know that they DO NOT reflect our beliefs. As always, we strive to create a safe environment for guests, team members and our community," the post says.
Beer's husband, Sgt. Paul Gorder, a 26-year veteran at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, was also featured in the video confronting protesters. He has been placed on investigatory leave, the DOC said Monday.
Isaiah Jones, 16, of Chicago, captured Sunday's confrontation on video, telling the Star Tribune Beer appeared intoxicated, adding: "That's what she really felt about us."
"I'd never heard a white person say it to my face," Jones told the paper. "It was insulting. It was mind-blowing."
Jones has been protesting for racial justice since his brother Cordale Quinn Handy was killed by St. Paul police in 2017.
On Facebook Sunday, Levy Armstrong noted Gorder called demonstrators "derogatory names" during a protest last week, too. And in both incidents, the Stillwater Police Department "intervened on our behalf."
Video from that incident shows Gorder yelling obscenities at people in the street from a lawn chair at the end of his driveway, the Star Tribune says. Later in the day, Gorder's attitude changed as he embraced Myon Burrell, a man whose sentence was recently commuted. Burrell told the crowd Gorder was humane to him while he was in prison.
Gorder's personnel file includes commendations and a three-day suspension for using "socially unaccepted and unprofessional term" toward a coworker, the paper notes.
Protesters have been gathering outside Orput's house to demand he bring murder charges against Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged with killing Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Wright.
Orput's office is prosecuting the case per an agreement between a few metro-area county attorney's offices.
In response to the racist comments, Levy Armstrong and others are calling on people to demand action from the Department of Corrections and to contact Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office to demand he take over the prosecution of the case (his office is prosecuting the officers charged in George Floyd's death).
"The racist behavior of Pete Orput’s neighbors reinforces why Orput should not be handling Kim Potter’s case. Orput lives in an all-white neighborhood, outside of the diversity of Hennepin County. We should not have to tolerate racism and white supremacy in order to demand justice for Daunte Wright," Levy Armstrong said on Facebook Sunday.