U.S Army 2nd Lt. Deja Harrison is suing a New Orleans casino after she was denied entry by employees who thought her military ID was fake.
On October 5, she and her family went to Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans to celebrate her brother’s 21st birthday, but the casino security told her the military ID she provided wouldn’t work because he didn’t believe it was her, she claims, according to WFXR.
“I mean, not only was it humiliating, but I was just shocked and appalled,” Harrison told WFXR. “You know, I immediately started telling him, you know I’m a second lieutenant now, I just commissioned this summer after I graduated camp.”
After the guard kept refusing to accept her explanation that her ID was real, the guard still denied her access. So she pulled out her phone and started recording. The video has been seen hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter. In this video, the employee said he believed the IDs were real but that they did not belong to Harrison.
“I started making the video, and I’m literally showing him, I have my vaccination card, I’m fully vaccinated. I even showed one of the staff members my Army paystub. I had a valid state driver’s license, I had a valid military ID, and I was still denied access to this casino,” Harrison explained.
Her explanations didn’t matter. In fact the employee is heard telling Harrison that he’s calling the cops on her. He went over to the phone and appeared to make a call. After two hours of waiting for the cops, Harrison said they never came.
“I decided to stand there, stand up for myself because I was not in the wrong,” she said.
“We’re absolutely willing to go to the bat for Lt. Harrison. This manager clearly engaged in stereotypical thinking and implicit bias; he could not believe that a young black woman had achieved the rank that she did through her hard work and dedication in the Army,” her attorney, James Desimone, said. “This violates Louisiana human rights laws and that he’s engaging in those stereotypes he’s denying her access to a public facility based on her race.”
Harrah’s, the casino, released a statement via its Twitter account:
“To comply with gaming regulations, Harrah’s New Orleans checks IDs for our guests who appear to be under 30 years old. To do so, we use an approved electronic reader, similar to what you would find at an airport TSA checkpoint. Our Team Members are trained to evaluate identification in accordance with local regulations. In this case, Ms. Harrison, who appeared to be under 30, presented a Louisiana driver’s license that did not clear our electronic verification system. When asked for an alternative form of identification, she presented a military ID card, but the information on the military ID card did not match the information she had verbally communicated to our security officers. As a result, in compliance with applicable gaming regulations, our security officers did not permit Ms. Harrison to enter the casino. Caesars Entertainment has an unwavering commitment to diversity and our military. We are saddened by this situation and will continue to evaluate our processes to ensure that we uphold both our commitment to our guests and our regulators. We have reached out to Ms. Harrison, who let us know she will be retaining legal counsel; as such, we will have no further comment.”
Here is what I think.
That casino security could not process that a 23-year-old Black woman could hold such a high rank and that informed how he viewed her. She was in ROTC all through high school and college so it makes sense that she could be bumped up to the level she is.
It was racism. But, hey, gotta hear all sides, right? I am not sure that casino will have any ground to stand on after realizing that, on a national stage, they were super wrong and all because they could not believe a Black woman could be so good, so young.