two cyclists riding into a sunset along a gravel road
(Photo/Life Time Inc.)

Dirty Kanza Founder Ousted After Calling Fatal Shooting of Rayshard Brooks ‘Justified’

In a Facebook post, Jim Cummins said the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was ‘justified.’ Cummins challenged anyone who disagreed to unfriend him.

Life Time Fitness, parent company to the famed Dirty Kanza gravel bike race series, severed ties Sunday with the race’s founder, Jim Cummins, over an incendiary social media post. In the post, which has since been deleted, Cummins called the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks “justified,” inciting massive online backlash, ultimately forcing Life Time to respond.

Brooks, a Black man, was shot and killed by Atlanta police on June 12 after failing a field sobriety test, taking an officer’s taser, and firing it at the officers while fleeing. The incident, which was caught on camera and streamed online, led to murder charges against Garrett Rolfe, the officer who killed Brooks, and the resignation of the Atlanta chief of police.

Quizzically, Cummins’ post included dashcam video of a different Black man — Daniel Clary — who in 2017 fled police arrest and shot one of the officers. Cummins appears to comment on the Clary video under the misconception it is Brooks.

Jim Cummins Dirty Kanza Facebook post Rayshard Brooks

Following backlash on the post, Cummins deleted his Facebook account.

Life Time Fitness later issued its post saying it had made the decision to “mutually part ways” with Cummins. The company said it was “truly sorry for the hurt and emotional distress the events of the last few days have caused.” Read the full post here.

Life Time also said it would reevaluate the name “Dirty Kanza,” a title that had previously been accused of cultural insensitivity despite reassurance by the Kaw Nation that the term was not offensive. Still, Life Time affirmed it was working through options for a name change because “our name should not cause hurt.”

Though the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to this year’s May 30 race, the Dirty Kanza is slated to run from September 10 to 13.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the Editor In Chief of GearJunkie.

Adam has been covering daily news and writing about cycling, camping, hiking, and gear of all kinds for 15+ years. Prior to that, Adam lived in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, at which time he realized he’d never have a “normal job.” His pastimes — farming, bike racing, and fitness — provided a gateway to all manner of physical challenges and recreation outdoors.

Based in Kansas City, MO, Adam tests as much gear as he can get his hands, feet (and dog) into each and every day. As editor in chief, he works to maintain GearJunkie’s voice, style, and commitment to accurate and expert reporting across every category.