Screenshot from ABC Tampa Bay

#RollerCoasterWhileBlack: Teacher Banned from Amusement Park for Having Bulging Pockets Video

The newest addition of things not to do #WhileBlack is twofold: go on roller coasters and use your pockets.


This lesson was a Father’s Day gift for Benjamin Slater, a special education teacher, while visiting Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Penn.

Slater, 36, attended the park with his girlfriend, a young man he mentors and his girlfriend. The man was approached by a security guard while getting off a roller coaster — the first ride he went on upon his arrival.

“Your pockets are bulging. I want to know what you have in them,” the guard said.

Slater thought it was a joke because his pockets contained his keys, phone and wallet — plus, he’d already been checked by security before entering the park. He started recording the encounter when he realized it was not in fact a Father’s Day prank.

“Oh yeah. What am I doing” Slater asks the security guard.

“So, sir, we’re getting calls that someone matching your description is going through people’s purses and bags, so —” the man begins to respond.

“I’ve been here one time, for five minutes,” Slater says.

“This is gonna be one of those stories,” he adds with frustrated laughter.

“We’re gonna be going up to our office, we’re gonna get to the bottom of this —” the guard continues.

“I’m not going — I want my money back, that’s what I want,” Slater answers. The video ends as the men begin walking.

The guard escorted Slater through the park.

“Slater, who is certified to teach children with social and emotional challenges, let officials know what he thought of his treatment,” Philly.com reported.
Whitehall Township Police officers were waiting, and cited him for using obscenities and ‘causing a public inconvenience.'”

Slater was escorted out of the park by security and banned from coming back for six months.

“My Father’s Day was ruined,” Slater told Philly.com.

Slater has since filed a lawsuit. His attorney, Brian R. Mildenberg, called on Dorney Park to “immediately apologize to Mr. Slater and change the park’s treatment of African American customers.”

The park doesn’t seem like it will be doing either.

“Dorney Park security responded to a guest complaint concerning Mr. Slater and were joined by local law enforcement in the investigation. While we regret that Mr. Slater’s experience at the park was not as he expected, we believe that the case is without merit,” the park said in a statement.

Dorney Park’s parent company is Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. At least eight of the 10 members of its executive leadership team are white; the races of two members could not be confirmed.

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