Fired Dayton civil rights employee allegedly said 'I hate black people'

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On Aug. 29, Julia Acosta-Grommon, who was hired to Dayton’s Human Relations Council in April, allegedly became upset after being told to quiet down and had her beer taken away by Ryan Collins, a bartender at Elsa’s Corner Cantina in Sugarcreek Twp. 

Collins said Acosta-Grommon was being loud and inappropriate while talking to a friend at the bar, and he took her drink away and told her she needed to leave, according to an email Collins sent to the city of Dayton. 

Collins, who is black, claims Acosta-Grommon repeatedly said she “hated black people” and “hated representing them,” the email states. 

Before being escorted out of the business by a manager, Acosta-Grommon allegedly told Collins she hoped he had a “cross burning” on his lawn when he got home and got a “call from the KKK,” his email states. 

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The city’s human resources department investigated the complaint and concluded that video evidence and statements by Elsa’s management team supported Collins’ allegations. The city chose to discharge Acosta-Grommon in mid-September. 

On Sept. 3, Collins sent the city of Dayton an email about an incident that occurred the previous week while he was working the patio bar at Elsa’s. 

Collins said his bartending shift started at 4 p.m. and he encountered Acosta-Grommon and a friend. He said the bartender he took over for indicated Acosta-Grommon had only consumed two drinks. 

Collins said Acosta-Grommon was talking loudly and made other customers uncomfortable. Collins said he asked her to keep it down, but her behavior was becoming inappropriate, and he took her beer away. 

Collins said she began telling her friend why she “hated black people” and representing them. Collins said he told her to leave after she started shouting at him and he would get her an Uber. 

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Collins said Acosta-Grommon “informed” him of her position in the city and her “position in society” and that he would never amount to anything more in life, his email states. 

Collins said she called black people “unappreciative dogs” who want everything handed to them instead of having to work for them. 

Acosta-Grommon was led out of the business by Craig Orzechowski, one of the co-owners of the restaurant. 

Orzechowski said Acosta-Grommon appeared too inebriated and angry but he did not hear what she said to Collins, according to an email Orzechowski sent to the city. 

Orzechowski, however, said he did hear her clearly and loudly state that she “hated black people,” his email says. 

In an interview with city staff, Acosta-Grommon said she did not recall a negative exchange with a bartender but did remember being asked to leave the bar, according to a memo in her personnel file. 

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Acosta-Grommon was hired after being highly recommended by the city manager. She previously worked as the director of Wright State University’s office of Latino, Asian and Native American Affairs. She has taught in the organizational leadership program and served on the university’s race and social justice committee, diversity advisory committee and strategic planning steering committee, according to records in her personnel file.

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