Four male Florida A&M University students tried to enter the Stadium Centre apartment complex on Gaines Street Friday to visit a friend, but they were greeted by a man who was entering the same building. There was back and forth commentary and then tension rose after the man, who was white, pulled a gun and said the four black students could not get on the elevator.
Isaiah Thomas, one of the students, recorded the incident on his phone and posted it to his Twitter feed Saturday morning. In a couple of hours the video went viral on all social media platforms.
The man was identified by social media users as Don Crandall, a hotel manager with the Pat Hotel Group at the Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham Hotels.
When Crandall’s name and employment became public knowledge it caused Baymont Inn & Suite to take action.
The hotel company acted in the aftermath of people contacting the hotel and demanding that Crandall be fired because of his action toward the students.
The hotel company released the following statement on Tuesday: “One of Pax Hotel Group’s core values is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. While at work or out in our everyday lives we expect our employees to have this core value in mind. We would like to apologize to those affected by the actions of our former employee.”
After receiving more calls asking about the fate of Crandall, the hotel released another statement on Wednesday stating, “Pax Hotel Group wants to assure the public that the former general manager of the Baymont by Wyndham Tallahassee Central was terminated on Monday afternoon once we were made aware of the incident. He has not been transferred or rehired at any of the Pax hotel Group properties. His employment with Pax Hotel group has been terminated.”
While some may be content with Crandall losing his job, others believe more action needs to be taken.
“Him losing his job is only a fraction of what this man deserves. I think he needs to serve some jail time,” said Thomas.
Tallahassee Community Action Committee believes that Crandall should serve the same fate.
“While Don Crandall may no longer be able to use his position of power to discriminate against people of color he is still armed and potentially dangerous. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee would like to reaffirm its commitment to having Crandall arrested, in the interest of the lives and safety of people of color, particularly black people, in the area,” said Tallahassee Community Action Committee co-founder Regina Joseph.
The video has shaken up the entire community, especially FAMU students.
“As a young black man this is scary. Of course I’ve seen it in the news before but it wasn’t so close to home. Now that I know who the guys are and exactly the building it happened at, it makes it all so real,” said Arthur Shepherd, a third-year student at FAMU. “There should be some form of punishment against Crandall even if he doesn’t go to jail. He should be the example to let others know that this isn’t OK and that there are consequences. This can’t keep happening.”
The case is still under investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department.