The founder and director of Dirty Kanza has parted ways by mutual decision after saying the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks was “justified”.
Dirty Kanza owners Life Time Fitness confirmed in a statement it had parted ways with Jim Cummins, calling his comments “inappropriate and insensitive”.
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Rayshard Brooks was shot dead as he fled police officers in a restaurant car park in Atlanta last week, with the shooting provoking another wave of anti-racism protests and Atlanta’s police chief resigning and one of the officers involved being fired.
Cummins had reposted a video of the attempted arrest of Daniel Clary, who shot at two police officers in 2017 and was sentenced to 110 years in prison, saying: “Watch this ENTIRE video. Then if you still believe the cop who shot Rayshard Brooks, after he stole the officer’s taser and then used it against him, was not justified in shooting Mr. Brooks…then unfriend me now.” Cummins has since deleted his Facebook account.
Life Time issued a statement, explaining their decision to fire Cummins: “Following a review of the post made by the founder of Dirty Kanza, we found it to be inappropriate and insensitive, and we stand against it as an organization. As an outcome of our investigation, we have parted ways with this individual.
“One of our core principles is to provide safe, trusting, and respectful environments for all our members, customers and team members, while rejecting all actions of prejudice or injustice towards others.
“We will continue to take all matters like this with the same degree of seriousness by conducting thorough reviews and acting any time we believe our company principles have been violated,” the statement read.
Cummins later released a statement, saying he had “chosen his words poorly”.
“I have dedicated the past fifteen years of my life to serving the cycling community. A strong community is a diverse community… made up of people from all walks of life, from all races, all religions, and holding a wide variety of views. I support them all,” Cummins said.
“A recent social media post of mine had one singular purpose…to show support for our men and women in blue. Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly. As a result, my words caused division and pain. For that, I am deeply sorry.
“In light of this, I have agreed with the fine people at Life Time that the only proper course of action is for me to end my association with the company and with their events. I wish Life Time, and the entire cycling community well. And hope that, someday, I can help to heal the wounds that I have caused.”
In April, a petition circulated calling for the Dirty Kanza to change its name, calling it a racial epithet that impacts the Kaw Nation, an indigenous tribe from Oklahoma and Kansas that is also known as “Kanza”.
In an open letter responding to the petition, which had received over 1,000 signatures, Cummins and members of the Kaw Nation said: “Life Time and the Kaw Nation are proud of our relationship, which is built upon mutual respect, dignity, and integrity.”
Dirty Kanza was founded by Cummins in 2006 and purchased by Life Time fitness in 2018, who also own the Colorado Leadville Trail 100 series as well as a number of other events.