A black man who was calling his mom from the lobby of his hotel says he was racially profiled when a security guard accused him of trespassing and called the cops.
Jermaine Massey was a guest at the DoubleTree Hilton in Portland, Oregon, when he had a tense exchange with the guard last Saturday. “I had a family emergency and I was taking a phone call,” Massey is heard saying in a video he recorded and posted to Instagram. “He wants to call the cops on me because I was taking a phone call in the lobby of my hotel.”
In the caption, Massey said he had his hotel key in his hand throughout the entire conversation. “He knew I was a guest,” Massey wrote. “He wanted to prove a point and did it in the worst way.”
Massey hadn’t replied to a request for comment as of press time. The end of his Instagram posts says: "I will be seeking justice. Believe that."
Massey, who lives in Washington State, had booked a room at the DoubleTree to see a Travis Scott concert at the nearby Moda Center. When he returned from the concert to his hotel, Massey said he realized he’d a missed call from his mother, who is on the East Coast, and fearing something was wrong because of the late hour, immediately sat down in a remote area of the lobby to call her back, the Oregonian reported.
This caught the attention of a security guard, who accused him of trespassing and asked him to leave. The hotel manager called the police. “They already had in their minds that they didn’t want me there, so I waited for the cops to show up,” Massey wrote. “When they did, I explained my side of the story and they didn’t want to hear it.” Massey was told that since the hotel asked him to leave, he would be considered a trespasser if he refused. Massey said he complied, and retrieved his personal items from his room. Portland police told KOIN 6 News that they offered Massey help in finding a new hotel. "At that time, the man declined the offer,” police said. Massey told news outlets that he sought out a hotel room at the Sheraton on his own.
“I cannot believe the level of professionalism that this hotel property had with me tonight,” wrote Massey. “It is never OK to discriminate against guests for the color of their skin.”
He said he was not issued a refund for his room at the DoubleTree.
Hotel management at the DoubleTree told the Oregonian that the incident was probably a misunderstanding and not rooted in racism.
“Safety and security of our guests and associates is our top priority at the Doubletree by Hilton Portland,” the hotel said. “This unfortunate incident is likely the result of a misunderstanding between our hotel and guest. We are sorry that this matter ended the way it did. We are a place of public accommodation and do not discriminate against any individuals or groups.”