An apartment manager at a Greensboro, North Carolina, complex is under fire after being accused of assaulting two children on the premises.
The children’s parents are preparing to launch a federal lawsuit against the owners and operators of the apartments that the 62-year-old worked for, alleging that she violated their civil rights.
The complaint comes after the Greensboro Police Department arrested the woman and charged her with two counts of simple assault on a child under 12.
Eleven-year-old Jace Lee-Eury and his sister Jayla were visiting friends on Aug. 3 for fun in the apartment complex’s pool when they encountered the property manager, Kimberly Jennings, his parents say.
According to witnesses and the young girl, Jennings struck the girl after an altercation.
“She slapped me and then my brother came and splashed water on her,” Jayla Lee-Eury, 8, said to WXII 12. The boy reportedly defended his sister by splashing water on the woman, who retaliated by pouring Coca-Cola on him.
A video of the alleged assault was shared on social media and went viral. In the clip, Jennings is seen drenching the boy with soda. After dousing the child with the cola, she smacked him in the face twice.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Harry Daniels, and Jason Keith are representing the interests of the Lee-Eury family, and plan to assist them in suing Sedgefield Gardens and Sedgefield Realty Company LLC.
The family is suing for discrimination, assault, and emotional distress and is requesting the case to be tried in court. They also want a jury to determine the amount of compensation they should receive.
Daniels said the woman embarrassed the kids because they were playing in the pool.
“She decided to assault them. She humiliated them and embarrassed him. There’s more layers to this,” Daniels told WXII this week. “It’s not just children that are in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is a bad seed. It’s racist, prejudiced, and the apartment complex knew that she had a tendency to lie and mistreat Black folk.”
Robert Lee-Eury, the father of the two kids, said the pool is close their home, and that’s why the kids went to cool off that day.
‘Grandma allowed them to go to the pool because it’s literally right in the next complex through the field, less than a two-minute walk,’ said Robert Lee-Eury, according to the Daily Mail.
The children’s mother, Joella Lee-Eurysaid she wants “to see something done for justice for my children and any other children that she may have hurt or discriminated against.”
After the incident, the mother said, “I want her fired. I want her life destroyed. I want her to have nothing and be nothing like she made my kids feel.”
Jennings’ lawyer, M. Rashad Moore, explains people should presume his client to be innocent, despite the video and public chatter around the incident.
“We fully expect Ms. Jennings to be granted her day in court, in front of an impartial judge, whereas the entire facts and circumstances detailing this case will come to the forefront. It is not our intention to try this case within the media or the ‘court of public opinion,’” he said in a statement to WFMY 2.
Moore added that Jennings is looking after her elderly mother and is requesting people to let her provide care for her aging parent without any issues while also being able to work without interruptions.