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Oregon hotel calls cops on Black guest talking to his mom in lobby

By Aris Folley, The Hill

A Black man who was a guest at a hotel in Portland, Ore., was asked to leave by police and hotel staff while he was making a call in the lobby.

The Oregonian reported on Wednesday that Jermaine Massey, who is from Washington state, was visiting Portland for the first time to attend a Travis Scott concert when he received a late phone call from his mother.

Massey, who was reportedly registered as a guest at a DoubleTree Hotel in Portland, decided to return his mother’s call from the lobby before going up to his room. While he was on the call, a hotel security guard asked him to leave and later called the police.

Massey recorded the encounter in a video he shared to Instagram that has since gone viral.

In the first of a series of videos, Massey can be seen sitting in a chair as a security guard named Earl calls the police on him.

When he asks the guard why he is calling the police, he says “to escort you off the property.”

“Because what and I’m staying here?” Massey asks.

“Not anymore,” the guard replies.

“I didn’t do anything to you,” Massey goes on to say, “I’m sitting here taking a phone call and you interrupting my phone call.”

“Did you interrupt any of these other people here?” Massey can be heard saying before turning his camera to show other guests in the lobby.

Police can be seen arriving to the hotel in another clip and questioning Massey and hotel staff about the incident.

“They already had in their minds that they didn’t want me there so I waited for the cops to show up and when they did, I explained my side of the story and they didn’t want to hear it,” Massey wrote on Instagram.

“They asked me if I had personal items in my room (which of course I did) and asked me to go retrieve them,” he continued. “They told me that since the hotel requested me to leave, that if I didn’t I would be considered a trespasser and would be thrown in jail. I complied and cooperated and was not issued a refund for my room. I packed my stuff and went to another hotel.”

Local police confirmed his account in a statement to KOIN 6 News.

“The employees, who had authority to trespass people from the hotel, requested the officer contact a person in the lobby they had reportedly directed to leave the property.The officer spoke with the man, who gathered his items and left the location,” the statement read.

“Prior to the man departing from the location, the Portland Police Bureau Officer offered the man assistance to a new hotel and at that time the man declined the offer,” the statement continued.

Management of the DoubleTree hotel told The Oregonian that the incident involving Massey was likely a misunderstanding and that the hotel staff does not racially discriminate against people.

“Safety and security of our guests and associates is our top priority at the Doubletree by Hilton Portland,” the hotel said in a statement. “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 place of public accommodation and do not discriminate against any individuals or groups.”

Massey said in a final post that “it is never ok to discriminate against guests for the color of their skin and to prejudge them based on your own bias against that race.”

“Earl is a disgrace, calls himself a man but calls the Portland Police Dept. on a man who was minding his own business in the lobby of his hotel. I had my hotel key in my hand the entire conversation, he knew I was a guest. He wanted to prove a point and did it in the worst way. Not really shocked that this happened but just extremely disappointed,” Massey continued, referring to the security guard.

“I will be seeking justice. Believe that,” he added.

This article originally appeared in The Hill.

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