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by Caley Fretz
June 21, 2020
The founder of Dirty Kanza, Jim Cummins, has been fired by the race’s parent company Life Time following a post on Cummins’ personal Facebook page that described the shooting of Rayshard Brooks as “justified.”
Emails from Life Time senior staff, obtained by CyclingTips, show that Cummins was the subject of a “thorough investigation” within the company and that Cummins was been placed on leave until the culmination of this investigation. That investigation has now concluded, and Cummins has been fired.
“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,” a statement from Life Time read. “As an outcome of our investigation, we have parted ways with this individual.”
Cummins’ post was brought to Life Time’s attention by multiple concerned event sponsors and exhibitors, including Logan VonBokel of Hot Route Media, which represents brands like Goodyear, Ergon, and Ortlieb.
“I have 6 clients that could, or will be be exhibitors in his event,” VonBokel said. “And I want lifetime to answer this.”
Cummins’ post has since been removed, and his Facebook account deactivated. In the post, Cummins asked his followers to watch a video in which two police officers attempt to apprehend a man, Daniel Clary, who fights back, shoots an officer, and then escapes. Clary was later convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison. The officer survived.
The video Cummins reposted and commented on took place over two years ago.
Rayshard Brooks killing is at the center of intense scrutiny and debate over the use of force in American policing. He was killed by police officers in Atlanta this month during an altercation at a fast-food restaurant. The encounter lasted 41 minutes, most of which was caught on video from multiple angles. After failing field sobriety tests, officers moved to arrest Brooks, who resisted. Brooks grabbed one of the officer’s tasers, fired it once, started to run away, fired it again, turned and ran again, and was then shot three times in the back.
The two officers involved, Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan, have been charged in the shooting. Rolfe faces felony murder and ten other charges, and was fired, while Brosnan faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly standing on Brooks’ shoulders as he died.
Cummins appeared to equate the two incidents in his post.
As of yet, Life Time has not responded to a request for comment from CyclingTips. However, in an email to a concerned event sponsor, Life Time VP of Events Kimo Seymour explained that Cummins had been placed on leave and reaffirmed Life Time’s commitment to “rejecting acts that demonstrate prejudice toward anyone.”
Cummins and Life Time were previously accused of using a racial slur in the name of their marquee gravel race, Dirty Kanza. A petition circulated earlier this year contending that the name equated to “dirty Indian,” as Kanza is one name for the Kaw Nation and its people. The name remained the same after Cummins met with the Kaw Nation, and Kaw representatives released a statement supporting the race.
Cummins has not yet responded to a request for comment.
This story has been updated. When it was first posted, Jim Cummins had been placed on leave. He has since been fired.