- A Black Army officer is pursuing legal action after a Louisiana casino employee denied her entry.
- Deja Harrison told Insider the Harrah’s New Orleans employee claimed she wasn’t the person on her valid military ID.
- A viral video shows Harrison’s interaction with the security guard on Oct. 5.
For Deja Harrison, a visit to a Louisiana casino earlier this month escalated when she said an employee denied her access to the establishment, stating she is not the person shown on her military ID. Now, the 23-year-old US Army second lieutenant is pursuing legal action.
The incident occurred on Oct. 5, when Harrison and her stepbrother decided to go to Harrah’s New Orleans to celebrate his birthday, as NewsNation Now reported.
When the electronic scanner at the casino failed to read her state diver’s license, she showed the guard her military ID for entry, Harrison told Insider on Wednesday.
“When my driver’s license didn’t scan…I offered them my military ID so he could examine it,” Harrison said. “He immediately looked at my rank, and he was like, ‘this ID is fake. This isn’t you, and there’s no way possible that you made this rank in a short period of time.'”
Harrison, a recent graduate of Grambling State University, said the employee’s remarks were hard to hear especially after her efforts during the summer.
“I just commissioned the summer. I just came from a 38-day training, sleepless nights, 16-hour days, walking 12 miles a day with heavy equipment on, and I was just like, ‘wow, this man is telling me I didn’t do this,'” she added. “I’ve worked so hard to be in the military and to be where I am now.”
Harrison posted the encounter on Twitter
In addition to both IDs, Harrison said she showed the guard a military pay stub and her vaccination card. She started to record the confrontation and posted the Oct. 5 exchange on Twitter.
“You said I have a fake military ID, right?” Harrison said in the video.
—Deja Harrison (@dejaharrisontv) October 5, 2021
“I’m not saying that your ID is fake. I’m saying I don’t think that it’s you,” the security guard responded.
“This is my face. I’m an E-6. Actually, I’m a second lieutenant now,” Harrison explained while showing the employee her two valid IDs.
At the end of the video, the employee said he was calling the New Orleans Police Department. WDSU-TV reported that when they reviewed the local 911 database, it did not appear that the casino called the police during that time frame.
Harrison told Insider she was humiliated and scared as she waited hours for the police to arrive, but they never did.
“Honestly, because of this, I haven’t been getting sleep,” she said.
Harrah’s New Orleans issued a lengthy statement on Oct. 7
Harrah’s New Orleans did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but addressed the incident in a public statement last week, stating that employees check the IDs of guests “who appear to be under 30 years old.”
“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,” the statement said.
The statement continued: “When asked for an alternative form of identification, she presented a military ID card, but the information on the ID card did not match the information she 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.”
—Harrah’s New Orleans (@harrahsnola) October 7, 2021
James DeSimone, an attorney representing Harrison, told Insider that they’re filing “a civil rights case on behalf of Lieutenant Harrison and seek to get justice through the courts.”
“We believe in our jury system, we think that a jury who hears this will be similarly outraged at both how Harrison was treated when she arrived at Harrah’s, [and] had the wait two hours in fear that this was not going because of the same type of biases that got her there,” DeSimone said.