Both parties have said they would be seeking legal counsel, while Sheriff Lafayette Woods said there will be no further investigation unless new evidence arises.
With 2.9k shares, a Facebook post went viral Thursday evening after a Sissy’s Log Cabin customer wrote about her unpleasant experience while visiting Sissy’s Log Cabin in Pine Bluff.
Kelvlyn Thomas posted while she was in the store shopping, a man (white) came out of the back discussing how he would hang “n******” in his back yard.
Sissy’s Log Cabin was tagged in Thomas’ post and immediately CEO of the company Bill Jones responded stating the following:
“Sissy’s Log Cabin was built on a foundation of respect, integrity and trust and we are committed to creating a workplace and business environment that promotes these values. Moreover, we are committed to making every customer experience a pleasant one.
“At Sissy’s, discrimination or harassment of any kind is not tolerated. We seek to create a workplace culture where customers feel safe and valued,” the statement said.
A second post was released at 10:42 p.m. Thursday from Sissy’s Log Cabin stating they were actively working with local law enforcement with Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods leading the investigation and that discrimination or harassment of any kind would not be tolerated with the employee(s) terminated immediately.
The Pine Bluff Commercial made contact with all three parties involved Friday morning.
According to Thomas she said she went to Sissy’s Log Cabin to see if they could fix a watch. She had a 3-year-old with her during her visit and said she was assisted by a lady in regards to fixing the watch.
“The lady told me they would have to send it to Memphis. A man came over and wanted to know what was going on. He looked up something in the book and I was given a price,” said Thomas. “I said ok, let me call my boyfriend and see if he wants to proceed with the purchase or not.”
Thomas stated she called her boyfriend but he didn’t answer so she went forward with the purchase.
Thomas said she browsed around, while the lady entered the information into the computer, since her boyfriend had an account there and this was her first visit. Thomas then walked to the other end of the store where she overheard a disturbing conversation between a white man and some white women.
“I went to the other end to look at jewelry and the white man was discussing an incident that happened with someone getting shot in the backyard and dying,” said Thomas. “He proceeded to say I feel like we should hang them like we used to do back in the day. I feel like we should go back to the old ways and hang them naked in front of everybody.”
Thomas said she turned around after overhearing the statement but couldn’t tell which white lady agreed but she said the lady said “I agree with you. I don’t see anything wrong with that”.
After reviewing the 19-minute long surveillance footage, Jones said he saw nothing to substantiate any of the allegations said by Thomas. Admitting the video does not have audio due to law, Jones said the actions did not match the allegations.
“Nobody here would ever do anything like that. It’s not our culture,” said Jones. “This is not what we are about and if we ever had anybody like that I would fire them immediately.”
Longtime employee of Sissy’s Log Cabin R.J. said when he first seen the post he felt it wasn’t true.
The 27-year-old and 11-year employee said as an African American he has never encountered racism within the company.
“We do not indulge in that type of work environment,” said R.J.
After reviewing the footage, Woods said it looked like “a pleasant visit”.
According to Woods, who encouraged Sissy’s Log Cabin to release the footage publicly on their Facebook page, Thomas came in with a child and was greeted. She took a watch in to get repaired, went to her car to get her checkbook and came back in and paid for it.
“After that she continued to shop in other areas of the jewelry store. She was walked to the door, handed a business card and very nicely left,” said Woods. “No one walked behind her. The only consistent thing about her statement was that she was in Sissy’s Log Cabin.
Thomas said she didn’t make a scene because she feared what the outcome would be as a black woman.
“I didn’t want to come off confrontational towards him because I had a 3-year-old child with me. I remained calm and proceeded to make my way back to the front of the store,” said Thomas. “No I didn’t leave right then.”
Jones said after reviewing the footage he can’t make sense of someone shopping for another 10 to 15 minutes if they were that upset but Thomas said in these times, she knew her actions would determine her fate.
Both parties have said they would be seeking legal counsel, while Woods said there will be no further investigation from the Sheriff’s Office unless new evidence arises.