Hilary Brooke Thornton, a white woman from St. Louis, made headlines last week when she tried to stop a black man who was trying to enter his own apartment inside her building, the Elder Shirts Lofts, and threatening to call the police on him.
As with other recent incidents of this nature, video footage of the encounter went viral, and Thornton quickly found herself fired from her job as the manager of Tribeca Luxury Apartments, according to Fox St. Louis.
D’Arreion Toles had been returning home from work when he found Thornton trying desperately to block his way into the building, and demanding proof that he lived in the building. Even after he opened his apartment with the key, she continued to watch him skeptically.
Toles recorded the incident with her, and later shared it to his Facebook page, after which it went viral.
“You are blocking me into my building. This is my building as well. So, I need you to get out my way,” he can be heard telling Thornton in the clip, to which she responds, “Do you live here? I’m uncomfortable.” Toles smartly hit back at her. “You can be uncomfortable. That’s your discretion. You’re uncomfortable because you’re you.”
After Tribeca Luxury Apartments reviewed the footage, they said they were “disturbed” by the woman’s behavior, and confirmed the woman was an employee, but that she has since been terminated.
Thornton has also been labeled a racist and has received death threats since the footage went viral, and spoke out to defend her actions.
“When I noticed an individual that I did not know here, my only thought was to follow directions I had been given by condo association board members repeatedly; and that’s to never allow access to anyone that you don’t know. I simply asked if he lived there because the direction from the association is … that if you don’t know the person, you don’t let them in.”
She explained that Toles had tried to enter the building while she had the door cracked to allow her dog to do its business, and she immediately demanded to see his key fob.
“It’s the only indicator any resident has that they live in the building and he wouldn’t answer me. He would not show me one,” she said. She then claimed that he forced his way into the door, something that was not caught on video. She then followed him into the elevator, despite claiming to be uncomfortable around him, and continued her pursuit until he was inside his apartment.
Thornton has denied that she is racist, saying, “That’s false and heartbreaking. Those are words that cut deep.”