WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - At least one Dick’s employee was fired from the company’s Deerfield Township store after a Black man claimed he was denied access to the store allegedly because of his race.
The incident occurred on June 11 around 6 p.m., when Regis Hearn, 37, came to the store on Deerfield Boulevard to pick up a bicycle he had previously bought in the store, he told the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Hearn says he was met by the store manager, 64-year-old Gerry Albright, and a confrontation ensued.
Hearn tried to explain to Albright the reason he was there, he says, but Albright twice said: “We don’t have any bikes for sale.”
Albright then followed Hearn through the store, Hearn told deputies.
“(Hearn) said after being denied entry into the store multiple times, he left and his friends contacted police,” the sheriff’s office report states.
The sheriff’s office clarified to FOX19 NOW that Hearn was denied entry at first, then he walked around Albright and did proceed into the store, and that’s when he was followed by Albright.
Albright’s account of the incident to the sheriff’s office differs. He told deputies after asking Hearn if he could assist him with anything, Hearn asked for a bicycle tire, and Albright replied they did not have any.
Albright said Hearn then asked about buying a bicycle and Albright replied they had none available. Albright denied knowing Hearn was there to pick up a previously purchased bike, the sheriff’s office report says.
Natalie Abel, another Dick’s employee who witnessed the incident, told deputies Hearn’s account was accurate and felt Albright had denied Hearn entry because of “recent alleged thefts by African Americans.”
FOX19 NOW reached out to Dick’s for comment on the matter. They replied with the following statement:
“We do not tolerate racism of any kind, and the way we treated Mr. Hearn was unacceptable. We have apologized to Mr. Hearn for what happened and extend our deepest apologies to his entire family. We have conducted an internal investigation and terminated all employees involved. We also closed our Mason store today to conduct bias training for the remaining employees and reinforce that we have zero tolerance for any racist behavior. We are committed to ensuring every customer – in all of our stores -- is treated with respect and this type of incident does not happen again.”