I was scared, humiliated, and threatened during my first and last stay at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. I’ll never know if this experience happened because I’m a woman, or because I look young, because I’m black or perhaps even all three. I do know that Dr. King fought with his words and intellect to prevent racial injustice, and unfortunately it’s still a dream of mine that equality will one day exist in this country.
I left the hotel spa around 6pm one evening in October 2014. I walked through the hotel lobby, through the casino and joined co-workers I saw at the round bar near the buffet entrance. They were sitting and chatting at a round table, which doubled as a gambling station, although no one was using the touch screens to gamble. The bartender asked me for ID, and I told him that I did not have it on me since I was coming from the spa, but that I was a guest of the hotel staying in room #4472. He told me that he could not serve me nor could I gamble on the casino floor and that I needed ID. I gave him my name and asked him to look me up in the hotel system because my ID was swiped when I checked in and I believed the hotel has a record of my identification and age.
I continued the conversation with the four male co-workers at the bar, and a few minutes later three security officers approached the bar area because the bartender called for security. I did not know that the bartender was calling security. One of my co-workers became upset that security had been called and reminded them that the company we worked for does extensive business with the hotel. I told my co-worker it was okay and that I would leave. I got up and began walking to my room.
Just before the elevator bank near the Starbuck’s café, I heard someone speaking to me, asking me to leave the hotel. He said I needed to turn left and leave the hotel premises. I turned around, stunned by the fact that three officers had followed me through the casino, through the hotel lobby and towards the elevators. One of the security guard’s name was Walter and he appeared of Hispanic heritage. The second guard was an older black male, and the third an older white male. I told the officers I was a guest of the hotel thinking this would end the matter, which seemingly was escalated severely by the presence of not one, not two, but three officers.
Instead of apologizing and walking away, the officers cornered me, continued asking me for my ID and several other questions, and one guard put his hand on what appeared to be a gun. At this point I was trembling and crying, and scared that the guards would become physically aggressive towards me. I didn’t have my wallet or my cell phone and they were demanding that I leave. I ended the conversation, which was publicly humiliating as guests walked by, and asked if I was excused to return to my room. He finally said yes.
Once in my room I broke down. After speaking to my husband, I remained in my room packing and feeling shocked at what had just occurred. I decided to book an early flight the next morning as I wanted to get as far away from the hotel as soon as possible. I did nothing wrong. I wasn’t aggressive. I wasn’t committing a crime. I wasn’t yelling. But yet, I feared for my life in that hotel. Black lives matter just like mine.