A white man has apologized for taking part in a rant against a group of teens at a Kansas City area pool in which he and another man questioned whether the teens committed a recent string of crimes.
“I shouldn’t have gone off the deep end like I did,” Bob Ross told Kansas City’s KSHB on Wednesday. “The language I used was inappropriate and I apologized to all the kids, the older gentleman that was involved. I lost it because of the way I was spoken to.”
Ross was referring to an incident captured on video and posted to Facebook in which he and another man harassed a group of teens at a pool in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Ross and another man accused the teens of a recent rash of vandalism and questioned whether they had a right to be at the pool. The two men even claimed that paid members of the pool are allowed only one guest each, although a sign at the pool clearly stipulates each member may bring up to three guests.
“That doesn’t mean you invite all your young friends in my pool,” one man is heard saying on the tape, broadcast on the station. “You pay the (expletive) dues?”
An 18-year-old young Black woman was among the group of teens at the pool. When she informed the two white men that she was calling her father, the pair backed off.
Jeff Sallis, the father of that young woman, told KSHB that it was clear to him that the situation evolved because of race.
“I’m absolutely sure race played a factor here because when you look at the video, the way the gentleman postured himself and the things he was saying, ‘They probably don’t live here. This is my pool. You don’t belong here,’ ” Sallis said. “It was a lot of you, you, you.”
Sallis has lived in the housing development near the pool for the last 14 years.
While a reporter for the station was interviewing Sallis, Ross showed up and the two men began a terse exchange. But Ross denied it was a racial incident.
“So, you can take it to that direction if you want to. It wasn’t that. It was me questioning kids that were hopping the pool fence and not supposed to be here.”
Ultimately both men agreed that mistakes were made and shook hands. Ross says he also agreed to apologize to Sallis’ daughter.