DoubleTree fires employees accused of racial profiling
A day after apologizing and placing two employees accused of racial profiling on leave, the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland announced those employees have been fired.
The announcement was made Saturday morning, two days after the NAACP of Portland issued a statement condemning the Dec. 22 eviction of Jermaine Massey, an African-American guest.
In the statement, NAACP President E.D. Mondaine said the organization was concerned that Portland police officers escorted Massey out of the hotel in the Lloyd District after being called there by the management.
"We have a grave concern regarding the ability of local law enforcement to facilitate an illegal eviction of a patron thtat has legally obtained temporary lodging, and without the right of due process," said Mondaine, who also challenged corporations "to adopt and enforce policies and procedures against racial profiling."
Mayor Ted Wheeler weighed in on the issue Friday by tweeting, "It is deeply troubling to hear about Mr. Massey's experience with discrimination. No one should be treated this way, and I hope this serves as a catalyst for necessary changes that address the systemic nature of discrimination of all forms."
In its Dec. 29 statement, DoubleTree tweeted, "We have terminated the employment of the two men involved in the mistreatment of Mr. Massey. Their actions were inconsistent with our standards & values. We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again."
Massey was a registered guest who was talking on the phone in the lobby with his mother when a security guard and a hotel manager called police and reported him as a trespasser. He recorded the interaction on his phone and posted it on social media, saying he was targeted for "calling his mother while black."
Massey, a resident of Kent, Washington, has hired the Portland law firm of Kafoury & McDougal, who demanded public answers to two questions: "Why was Mr. Massey approached by security? Why was he interrogated? Please explain in detail in what manner Mr. Massey was a threat to safety or security."
Masse told the New York Times that the experience has made him afraid to do normal things now.
"I'm cautious about what I am doing, and how people are perceiving that, and I shouldn't have to think twice about where I take a phone call, or what part of the hotel I can visit," the newspaper quoted Masse as saying on Saturday.
What happened on December 22
After Massey had seen Travis Scott at the nearby Moda Center, he returned to his hotel and was on the phone with his mother. He sat in the lobby of the DoubleTree and spoke with her when a security guard "persisted in questioning his presence," attorney Jason Kafoury said in a statement.
The security guard continued and the hotel manager called Portland police and "demanded that he be arrested for trespass if he did not leave the premises."
Massey recorded the encounter with a security guard named Earl on his phone and posted it to Instagram. In those posts, he claims he was racially profiled.
After the police came, Massey complied with their directives, gathered his belongings and left the hotel. Police offered him a ride, "but Mr. Massey explained he had his own car and would drive himself, rather than leave in the back of a police car," his attorneys said.
According to the police report, the 34-year-old, who said he was "a former FBI agent ... became loud and started yelling that the hotel was racist," CBS News reports.
Mondaine said what happened to Masse happens all too often in Portland and the rest of the country.
"This negligent, avoidable situation, along with numerous other unreported and public instances of racial profiling, highlights the reality that in the 21st century, this evolving epidemic continues to be fueled by the lack of action in both the private and public sectors," the NAACP president said in a Dec. 27 statement.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Reporter Jim Redden contributed to this story.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.