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Black CPI Security employees share thoughts on work culture after CEO’s anti-protest comments

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:47 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Heat continues to burn CPI Security after its CEO’s anti-protest comments in an email were made public over the weekend. Big partners have pulled support, ended sponsorships and the CEO voluntarily resigned Monday from the CMPD Police Foundation.

The CEO has publicly apologized for his words and Monday was the first day back to work for some of its Black employees.

There is no elephant in the room, so to speak. Some of those CPI workers say they are not shying away from talking about it. They also say their CPI administration is on board and supportive of their feelings.

It makes sense because Friday, dozens of workers walked out of the office once they found out about the CEO’s emails as a sign of solidarity, and some of them never came back as a sign of their resignation.

“The saying is always when a snake shows his head, at least you know where it is,” said Jachin York, who works in sales for CPI.

“It’s really about us coming together and holding his feet to the fire,” Jerrien Crops, who is in sales at the security company.

York, Crops and Yusuf Baskin all still work at CPI and all said they said they weren’t shocked about what Gill wrote in an email. They were just disappointed.

“We’re not willing to gloss this moment over,” said Crops.

Gill’s comments were sent to Queen City Unity, an activist group asking big companies for support in the Black Lives Matter movement. In response, Gill wrote, “Please spend your time in a more productive way. I challenge your statistics. A better use of time would, would be to focus on the black on black crime and senseless killing of our young men by other young men.”

After the email was made public, the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Knights, NC State Athletics, and Gamecock Athletics ended partnerships with the security company.

“Before I came to CPI, I did read some reviews on GlassDoor and they talked about a sense of white privilege and everything,” said Baskin.

One review WBTV’s Bria Bell found on that website read, “CPD has decent pay,” and “Expect customer abuse to go completely unresolved. Warnings on accounts of racist customers to ‘not send black technicians,’ etc. are not uncommon.”

But it’s the comments from the weekend making public waves bigger than any of these employees imagined.

“Phones are ringing off the hook. It’s one of those things where we’re getting a lot of overhauls...overflow I should say,” said Crops.

All three men say they are not in a position to leave because of bills.

“Still have to have a paycheck,” York said.

They all agree that a lot of their non-Black coworkers are promising to really listen, empathize, and make changes to the culture so Black employees feel more comfortable while at work.

“A conversation that’s going to have to be constructive and going to get somewhere,” Crops added.

“Just because the CEO says it, doesn’t necessarily mean everybody in the building feels that way,” said Baskin.

With so many customers ending partnerships with CPI. The men say they are concerned about the future of their jobs.

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