US Black Army officer says she was denied entry at New Orleans casino after ID doubted
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A Black Army second lieutenant said she was discriminated against at a New Orleans casino after an employee denied her entry by claiming she was not the person pictured in her military identification photo.
Deja Harrison documented part of the encounter in ashe posted on her Twitter page.
"But you said I had a fake military ID, right?" Harrison says in the video as she holds up two ID cards.
"I'm not saying the ID's fake, I'm saying that I don't think that it's you," the employee responds. It's not clear what led up to the confrontation between Harrison and the employee.
Harrison moves the IDs closer to the camera and says that it is her face in the photos and that she was an E-6 rank in the Army, but recently became a second lieutenant.
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"You don't believe that I'm a second lieutenant. So what's the problem? I'm showing you my ID," she says to the employee. "This is my picture. This is a valid military ID. This is a valid driver's license. None of them are expired."
The employee tells Harrison that he's going to call "NOPD" and she can explain the situation to them, referring to the New Orleans Police Department.
It's not clear if the employee, who is white, did in fact call the police on Harrison, who is Black. The department did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.
Since posting the video last week, it has been viewed more than 290,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon. In the caption, Harrison wrote that she believes she was discriminated against because she's a "high-ranked 23 yr old black female in the Army."
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Harrison told NBC affiliateof New Orleans that she was at Harrah's New Orleans to celebrate her step-brother's 21st birthday. She said she had initially pulled out her driver's license but the machine the casino uses to scan IDs wouldn't scan it. She told the news station that she grabbed her military ID instead, and the employee questioned the validity of it.
Harrison said she enlisted in the Army when she was in high school and was in the JROTC all four years of school. When she graduated and joined the Army, her ranking was an E-2. Harrison explained that she quickly moved up to an E-3, and while enrolled at Grambling State University in Louisiana, she contracted with ROTC to help move her ranking up even more.
When she graduated college this year, she was commissioned to second lieutenant in July, she said.
"I have to stick to facts," Harrison said about why she recorded the video. "I couldn't leave anything out. I had to make sure everyone knew the situation that was going on. Because you know, what happens if you don't record? You don't have evidence. ... But I just wanted everybody to know, this is what I'm going through at Harrah's."
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The casino released aon Twitter: "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."
Harrah's said as a result and in compliance with gaming regulations, Harrison was not allowed 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," Harrah's said. "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.”
Harrison responded to the casino's claims, tellingthat she had told the employee that she was a second lieutenant in the Army, but her military ID still says E-6. She told the station that she had just recently become a second lieutenant and her ID hasn't been updated yet.
Jim DeSimone, an attorney for Harrison, told the station they are ready to file a civil rights lawsuit on her behalf.
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