An African American man who recorded video of two hotel employees asking him to leave the property last year has sued Hilton Hotels and DoubleTree by Hilton in Portland, Oregon.
Jermaine Massey claimed he was falsely arrested and discriminated against because of his race when he was a guest at the DoubleTree by Hilton on December 22, according to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Circuit Court in Multnomah County.
Massey was seated in the hotel lobby talking on his cell phone to his mother, who lives in the East Coast, when hotel security "interrupted him, demanding to know if he was a guest," his attorneys said in a news release.
"When Mr. Massey replied that he was, the guard persisted, demanding further proof, then calling him a 'security threat' and alerting the hotel manager, who called Portland Police," his attorneys said.
The security guard accused Massey of "loitering," and the manager ordered him to leave the hotel, the lawsuit said.
In a series of Instagram videos recorded by Massey and obtained by CNN, in December, he was heard asking the guard, "But why? But I'm staying here."
"Not anymore," the security guard replied.
At one point in the video, Massey showed the two men his keycard envelope with the room number and date written on it.
Police told Massey he would be arrested for trespassing if he did not leave the hotel, the lawsuit said.
"The police escorted Mr. Massey to his room to gather his personal belongings, and then led him out of the hotel in full view of other guests," his attorneys said.
"Once the police arrived, Massey was no longer free to come and go as he wished, and was allowed only to move while in police escort and under police restraint," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks $3 million in damages. It indicates that Massey plans to amend the claim for punitive damages to a figure to be determined by a jury of up to $7 million.
Doubletree by Hilton Portland's general manager apologized. "We are a place of public accommodation and place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion and our hotel does not discriminate against any individual or group," he said in a statement.
A security guard and hotel manager, who are named as defendants in the lawsuit, were fired. CNN unsuccessfully tried to reach the two former employees.
Harassed for trying to go home ...
Videos showing a white neighbor blocking a black man from entering his downtown St. Louis loft got national attention.
D’Arreion Toles, 24, was trying to enter his home in the Elder Shirt Lofts building, 703 North 13th Street, the night of Oct. 12, 2018, when a white woman guiding a dog on a leash blocks him and asked what unit he lives in, according to videos he posted to Facebook. The post says the videos show what it’s like to be a black man in America.
“I’m uncomfortable,” the woman says in the video, arguing that he pushed his way into the building.
“OK, you can be uncomfortable,” says Toles. He tells her he used a key to get in and said he didn’t have to give her his unit number, which she asks for.
The video shows the woman eventually getting into an elevator with Toles and following him to his apartment.
“I’m going to my house,” Toles tells her as she walks behind him down the hall. “Where I live at — where I pay.”
The woman continues to watch as Toles enters the apartment with a key.
Thirty minutes later, St. Louis officers knocked on his door, presumably called by the woman, according to the post.
Toles’ emailed statement says the woman claimed he had “choked and assaulted her” during their encounter, which Toles said is “as far from the truth as possible.”
Toles said police then came to his apartment after the incident and “treated me like a criminal until they viewed the video recording that I made.”
The woman, Hilary Thornton, told Fox 2 a few days later that she was following instructions from the condo board and not allowing access to the building to someone she didn't know.
Thornton had the door cracked to let her dog outside while she held the leash.
Thornton was fired from her job with Tribeca-STL Management, a property management company.
Walking to a MetroLink stop after an IHOP meal ...
In early July, 10 black incoming freshmen at Washington University were stopped by Clayton police while walking to a MetroLink stop from a late-night dinner and told they were suspected of leaving the IHOP restaurant without paying, university officials said.
Even though some of the students had receipts showing they had paid for their meals, police made all of them walk three blocks back to the restaurant, with six squad cars following them. At the restaurant, the manager told officers the students were not those who had left without paying.
Rob Wild, associate vice chancellor for student transition and engagement, said in an email that the students “did not really appear to fit the description of the suspects other than being black.”
Wild said for such a minor crime, it’s “confusing why they were forced to walk back and detained for such a long time.”
Clayton Police Chief Kevin R. Murphy said the suspects were described as four young black men who had left the restaurant without paying a $62 bill. He said his officers are “duty bound” to respond to a call involving a crime, pointing out that there have been 45 reports this year of customers leaving the IHOP without paying.
In a letter to residents at the end of September, Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger said that while police acted properly, the incident highlighted "the growing gap around the nation" between police and communities.
The independent investigation states that the students were not ordered to return to the restaurant, as was initially stated by university faculty who talked with the students after the incident.
Trying to buy a money order at Schnucks ...
In May, Kellen Hill tried to use a debit card at a South County Schnucks to get a $1,100 money order to pay rent.
But after seeing Hill's Florida-issued driver's license, an employee declined to give him the money order, citing concerns about fraud.
In one of the videos Hill shared of the ordeal on Facebook, he said that after the store employee asked him to use cash to make the purchase, Hill asked his girlfriend to come from work to bring the money they needed.
But when Hill's girlfriend returned with cash, the employee still wouldn't allow Hill to buy the money order. After a long argument, the employee gave the couple the money order.
One day after Hill shared video on Facebook, Schnucks announced it had fired the employee and CEO Todd Schnuck apologized.
Shopping for prom clothes ...
In early May, Mekhi Lee, a 19-year-old DeSmet Jesuit High School graduate, and two high school seniors went shopping for prom clothes at Nordstrom Rack in Brentwood.
Lee said he and his friends, who are all black, noticed they were being watched by store employees. Lee called his mother, who encouraged him to talk with the store manager, but Lee said the manager never came to talk to them.
Lee said another customer, an older woman, became involved in an increasingly tense situation, calling one of the men a "punk."
“When she called us a punk, and she didn’t have anything to do with the situation, everyone in the store is against us looking at us crazy, (and) we didn’t do anything,” Lee said. “I was totally embarrassed, and we’re the only ones defending ourselves against everyone in the store.”
When the three left the store, police were pulling into the parking lot, Lee said. Officers told the men that police had gotten a call about three black men shoplifting, and read the men a police report where store employees said they had stolen several items.
The men showed the police the items they had purchased and a store receipt.
Nordstrom Rack leadership apologized to the families of all three men, and the company's president had contacted the families and asked to meet with them.
Campaigning door-to-door, part 1 ...
While campaigning for a seat on the Clayton School Board, which he won, Jason Wilson was stopped by police officers twice in Clayton neighborhoods.
The officers said they were answering complaints about a black man selling something door-to-door.
The first time the police stopped him, Wilson had been talking to a woman pushing her child in a stroller down the street before going to the next house to knock on the door.
Wilson told the Post-Dispatch's Tony Messenger the officer told him he couldn't be going door-to-door selling things in that neighborhood.
The second time, Wilson recorded the encounter and posted video of it to Facebook, where the post was shared widely. Two white officers walked up to Wilson, who told them he was a school board candidate. Then one asked for his permit.
The white voter Wilson had been talking to "vouches" for Wilson, who owns a business in the city and has an MBA from Washington University.
Campaigning door-to-door, part 2 ...
While campaigning door to door in July, Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum was standing in a neighborhood typing notes on her cellphone between visiting houses.
Then a sheriff's deputy showed up.
A resident in the neighborhood Bynum represents had called the police, thinking she was suspicious because she was going door to door and typing on her phone between visits.
Bynum told the Oregonian the deputy asked if she was selling something. Then Bynum said she was a state lawmaker.
"It boils down to people not knowing their neighbors and people having a sense of fear in their neighborhoods, which is kind of my job to help eradicate," she told the Oregonian.
The deputy and Bynum took a selfie, which Bynum posted to Facebook.
Incidentally, Bynum won re-election to her seat in the Oregon House of Representatives in November.
Enjoying a day at a community pool ...
A 15-year-old boy who had been invited to swim at a South Carolina community pool in June became a victim of racial discrimination after a white woman began shouting at him to leave.
The woman, Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, allegedly shouted racial slurs at the teen and hit him multiple times before threatening to call the police, according to a police report.
Sebby-Strempel, dubbed "Pool Patrol Paula" by social media users, was shown on video aggressively swatting at the camera phone the teen was holding. The video also showed her hitting him as he and his friends left the pool area, while she yelled, "Get out now! There's three numbers I can dial: 9-1-1. OK? Get out. Little punks."
Police concluded Sebby-Strempel was "clearly the aggressor" in the "unprovoked assault." But when officers showed up at her home to arrest her two days later, police said she pushed one detective into a wall, injuring his knees, and bit a second detective on the arm.
Sebby-Strempel, who lost her consultant job after the incident, faced several charges, including assault and battery after the problems at the pool.
On Dec. 11, she pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was fined $1,000.
Taking a nap in a dorm ...
A black Yale University graduate student, Lolade Siyonbola, was interrogated by campus police officers in May after a white student found her sleeping in a common room of their dorm and called police.
According to Siyonbola, she was working on a paper in the Hall of Graduate Studies when she fell asleep in a common room. Another female student came in, turned on the lights and told her, "You're not supposed to be sleeping here. I'm going to call the police."
Siyonbola pulled out her phone and recorded 54 seconds of a hallway encounter with the unidentified student, who told her, "I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room."
After two white police officers arrived and began questioning her in a stairwell, Siyonbola posted 17 minutes of their encounter to Facebook Live.
The 34-year-old grad student in African studies unlocked her dorm-room door in front of police to show that she lived there, but they still asked for her ID. "You're in a Yale building and we need to make sure that you belong here," the other officer told her.
The officers in the dorm admonished the student who called police, saying Siyonbola had every right to be present, according to Kimberly Goff-Crews, Yale's vice president for Student Life.
Making a call in a hotel lobby ...
Jermaine Massey was on the phone in the lobby of the Portland, Oregon, DoubleTree hotel in December when a security guard told him police were on their way to make him leave.
In a series of Instagram videos of the incident recorded by Massey and obtained by CNN, he is heard asking the guard, "But why? But I'm staying here." "Not anymore," the security guard replies.
Massey, a guest at the hotel, then told a desk staffer that he was taking a personal phone call in the lobby when the guard began to question why he was there. At one point in the videos, he shows the two men his keycard envelope with the room number and date written on it.
Police said after employees asked him to leave, an officer took Massey back to his room to get his things and offered him assistance to a different hotel, but he declined.
Massey's attorneys told CNN that hotel staff demanded he be arrested for trespassing if he did not leave the property at that time.
DoubleTree General Manager Paul Peralta issued a statement about the incident Wednesday, calling it, "unfortunate," and said the hotel has reached out to Massey about the matter.
On Dec. 29, the hotel said on Twitter it had fired the two men involved in "the mistreatment of Mr. Massey."
Holding a cookout ...
A white woman, later dubbed "BBQ Becky" on social media, called police on a gathering of black men holding a barbecue in an Oakland, Calif., park.
The woman said the men were using a grill in an area where it was banned. No one was arrested after Oakland police arrived, but the 25-minute episode in late April was caught on video and posted to YouTube, where it took off.
Less than a month later, hundreds of people held a cookout called "BBQing While Black" in Oakland with food, dancing, hip-hop and '80s soul music.
Waiting at a table at Starbucks ...
Cellphone videos taken at a Starbucks in Philadelphia caught the moment when at least six Philadelphia Police Department officers stood over two seated black men, asking them to leave.
An attorney for the two men told a Starbucks employee they were waiting for another man. Shortly after, a white female employee called the police.
Police handcuffed the two men, with one officer saying they were not complying and under arrest for trespassing. The men were held for nearly nine hours before their release, the attorney said, with no charges filed.
After the April incident that grabbed headlines nationwide, the coffee chain apologized to the two men. Critics and a Starbucks official said what the two men were doing is the same thing many people have done at the company's stores without suspicion or calls to police.
The police department's handling of the incident also drew plenty of scrutiny and some critics accused the officers of racial discrimination.
The incident led to the company closing hundreds of its stores for an afternoon in May to give their employees diversity training in hopes a similar incident would not happen in the future.
Cashing a paycheck ...
When Paul McCowns, who is black, first entered a Huntington Bank branch in Brooklyn, Ohio, to cash his first paycheck from his new job on Dec. 1, everything seemed normal.
But after the standard ID check and fingerprinting, which the bank says is done for all non-Huntington customers trying to cash checks, things took a turn.
Bank employees began to question the legitimacy of the check, which was worth just more than $1,000, McCowns said.
They called his employer, an electric company, numerous times to confirm, but his employer did not answer. The bank turned him away, he said.
Moments later, he was handcuffed and put into the back of a police cruiser.
"I get in my truck, and the squad car (pulls) in front of me, and he says, 'Get out the car,' " McCowns, 30, told Cleveland 19 News. An employee had called Brooklyn police, who detained McCowns until they verified with his employer that the check was real.
Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke said Tuesday that since July, there have been at least 10 calls out to the Huntington Bank branch where McCowns was detained - all of which have resulted in arrests for fraudulent checks.
A bank spokesman confirmed the police chief's statement said the bank has tried multiple times to apologize, but McCowns hasn't returned their calls.
McCowns did tell Cleveland 19 News he had no trouble cashing his paycheck at another Huntington branch the next day.
Helping a homeless man outside a supermarket ...
Employees at a Safeway supermarket in Mountain View, Calif., called 911 on a black woman and her family in late July because they suspected them of shoplifting, police said.
Erika Martin said she stopped at the store to help a homeless man she knew hung out there, giving him a bag of dog food and treats for his pit bull. Her two sisters also gave two other men care packages with soap, toothpaste and other hygiene products.
Martin said her son, almost 10 at the time, and her nieces and nephews went into the store to see if the bakery was giving out free cookies and to get samples from the deli. Martin and her sisters stayed outside and talked with one of the homeless men.
Soon after, a Safeway employee came out of the store, looked at her and rushed back inside. As Martin prepared to leave, two police cars drove up, with one blocking her into her parking space.
Police said an employee had called to report a theft in progress. Five officers were dispatched to interview employees and the Martin family. A police spokeswoman said it became "extremely clear" no one identified by the employees was involved in any sort of criminal activity and told that to employees. Safeway apologized to Martin within a couple of days.
Selling water bottles on a public sidewalk ...
In a 15-second video clip that went viral in June, a white woman stands on a California sidewalk with her phone to her ear.
While recording the video, the mother of the 8-year-old girl selling water bottles said, "She's calling police on an 8-year-old little girl. You can hide all you want. The whole world's gonna see you, boo."
While she talks, the white woman, Alison Ettel, ducks behind a wall. Ettel, who had called 911, tells the operator "Yeah, um, illegally selling water without a permit?"
The video ended with #PermitPatty, and the hashtag and related memes took off.
Ettel resigned as CEO of her health company after the reaction.
She said she was sorry and the incident had nothing to do with race, telling CNN, "I did call the police, but not on anybody." Ettel said she wanted to talk to someone about whether selling water without a permit was legal.
The girl's mother said she didn't think the apology was sincere.
Leaving an Airbnb rental ...
As Kelly Fyffe-Marshall and four of her friends, three of them black women, dragged their luggage to their vehicle after leaving an Airbnb rental in California, seven police cars showed up.
Police told the group to put their hands in the air, then told them a helicopter was tracking them.
In a Facebook post, Fyffe-Marshall wrote a neighbor across the street thought the women were stealing from the house and called the police.
A police lieutenant said an elderly white woman called police but did not know if race was a factor. In a news release, police said it learned the residence was an unlicensed Airbnb. Lawsuits were filed on behalf of at least three of the women in the incident.
Babysitting a family friend's kids ...
A white woman who spotted a black man babysitting two white children called police and then followed them home in Georgia.
WGCL-TV reported in October that the woman stopped Corey Lewis outside a Cobb County Walmart and asked to speak to the kids. He refused, so she called police and followed them to his home.
An officer arrived and questioned the children, ages 6 and 10, and called their parents, David Parker and Dana Mango. The couple says Lewis is a family friend and their son attends his youth program.
Mango says the officer told her Lewis was questioned because he's a black man driving around with two white children.
Parker said he guesses "B-W-B is the new thing, babysitting while black."
Five black women playing golf for the first time as members at a Pennsylvania golf course in April wound up facing an unexpected hazard: the police.
The women said knew they were playing slowly because they were "rusty," but didn't think they were holding up anyone behind them. A man in a group behind them told CNN the same thing.
Then the police showed up.
The club's co-owner told police he called 911 twice after the women were delaying tee times for other golfers. When police showed up the first time, he said the women had sped up and there was no need for intervention.
But a few holes later, the man told police he saw the group had held up play again, so he went to talk with the women. The club's co-owner said the women began yelling at him, so he called 911 again.
One of the women told CNN the group skipped a hole "even though there was no one close behind us." Police showed up and left with no charges filed or arrests made.
The next day, CNN reported the man who called 911 called the women to apologize. The women said they didn't plan on returning to play golf there.
Shopping at a deli ...
A New York woman became the subject of ridicule on social media after she falsely accused a boy of groping her while she was shopping inside a deli.
Teresa Klein, who is white, appeared to call 911 and tell a dispatcher that the boy, who is black, assaulted her. The spectacle was recorded in an October video that went viral, earning Klein the nickname #CornerstoreCaroline on social media.
"No, I want the cops here right now," Klein said as she held her phone to her ear and a crowd of angry onlookers began to gather around. The 9-year-old boy, carrying a backpack, began to cry as the woman accused him of grabbing her.
The crowd grew angrier, screaming at Klein, who had covered her other ear as she continued to talk to the 911 operator.
"I just was sexually assaulted by a child," Klein said.
"Are you seriously calling the police?" a woman can be heard saying.
With Klein back in the store about a week later, video showed Klein standing at the register as the boy walked past behind her with his blue backpack and a plastic bag in his right hand. As the boy's bag appeared to brush against Klein, she looked behind her, seeming startled.
"The child accidentally brushed against me," she acknowledged. Looking into one of the TV cameras, she apologized to the boy. "Young man, I don't know your name, but I'm sorry."
Trying to open his own business ...
A black man about to open his own store one July morning in San Francisco was on the phone when two police cars pulled up.
Vicktor Stevenson told CNN four officers approached him, one with a hand on his hip, which Stevenson thought looked as if it were on his weapon.
Stevenson said officers told him they'd been called by someone who said he was breaking into the business. He said officers asked him to remove his arm from his coat, and then asked him to prove it was his business.
After opening and closing the door, police asked Stevenson for his ID. Stevenson said he didn't want to do so, but "didn't want to become a statistic," so he complied.
Stevenson said the officers, three of whom were white, were polite and doesn't have a problem with police responding, but did have one with the call itself.
Accidentally mowing the wrong yard ...
Reggie Fields, a 12-year-old who ran a lawn-mowing business in a Cleveland suburb, was cutting the grass with his cousins and siblings when police showed up.
Turns out a neighbor had called because the children inadvertentely strayed into a thin strip of their yard, according to Lucille Holt, the woman who had hired Fields.
"They called the police to tell the police that the kids was cutting their grass. Who does that?" Holt said in a live video she posted to Facebook.
Fields told a local TV station he didn't realize they had strayed into a neighbor's yard. Fields' mother said police talked to only the adults, leaving the children alone.
After the incident went viral, Fields' mother said business boomed, with the boy picking up about 20 new clients in a few days.
Hilton Hotels said: "Hilton has zero tolerance for racism and is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all guests" and that is sped up diversity training after the incident.