CORONADO, Calif. — A Coronado city employee has been placed on administrative leave pending "an independent, full and fair investigation," according to the Coronado City Manager in a statement, for allegedly making racist comments to an Asian-American couple over the weekend. A man and woman caught on camera were identified by users on social media as City of Coronado employee Roger Miller and his wife, Sandra Miller.
As of Monday, Sandra Miller had been fired from her job at Linfield Christian - a private school in Temecula - following the video's circulation.
Roger Miller is the city's director of recreation and golf services.
The Coronado City Manager Tina Friend's statement released Monday reads:
"Yesterday, the City of Coronado learned of a video circulating on social media featuring the actions of a City employee. The makers of the video alleged the City employee made a series of racist statements leading up to the filming of the video.
We acted immediately, and the person involved has been placed on administrative leave pending an independent, full and fair investigation.
Our City’s culture and values are core to who we are and that culture is based on professionalism, service and respect. We take matters such as this extremely seriously and the City has zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination."
The video taken Saturday at a mall in Orange County was originally posted to TikTok but was later taken down and the person who posted it did not appear to be active. The video was recorded by other users – one of whom identified the couple – and continued to circulate online.
A caption over the recording that first surfaced on TikTok reads:
“This racist couple started out calling us racial slurs out of nowhere and blamed Asians for starting COVID. They continued to say racist comments loudly for us to hear, so we confronted them.”
The woman in the video can be heard referring to “communism” at one point.
A woman off-camera is then heard asking “Are you saying those words towards us?” while a man states “We’re not even Chinese, by the way.”
The man being filmed answers “Yeah, maybe. Could be.”
The woman being filmed shouts “America is a free country” and “go back to China” as she gets into a van. The man in the video is seen flipping off the person filming as he drives away.
On Monday, Linfield Christian posted the following tweet on their Twitter page:
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey issued the following statement to CBS 8 on Sunday. He also did not identify the employee by name.
“The City became aware of a recording of an employee and is looking into alleged comments. As this is a personnel matter, I cannot discuss specifics at this point, but we are taking the matter seriously and working to find out exactly what happened.”
Joann Fields with the AAPI Initiative said the language used in the video is dangerous and wrong. She hopes the City of Coronado handles it the best way.
"It is very important that the city manager addresses this quickly and swiftly. I hope they make a good decision on how they handle this... I don't know the city manager there but they need to know the Asian-Pacific Islander community will not stand for this and that we hope they make the right decision."