Office of Public Affairs | Department of Justice Forms Agreement with South Dakota Hotel and Sports Lounge to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination Against Native Americans

The Department of Justice announced today that the owners and operators of the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino, a hotel and gym located in Rapid City, South Dakota, have filed a motion to dismiss the Department’s lawsuit against the defendants. discrimination against American customers in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under the plea, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, Connie Uhre will be barred from serving as an officer or director of the company or from performing any administrative duties or engaging in any activities on behalf of the Grand Gateway Hotel for years four. The defendants also issued a public apology and sent it specifically to tribes in South Dakota and throughout the Great Plains region.

“As the complaint alleges, the defendants prevented Native Americans from booking rooms at the hotel and publicly spoke out to discourage Native Americans from ever setting foot on the property,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “A statement like the one made by the defendant in this case – that ‘[w]no no[er] to allow every Native American to own property,’ – reminiscent of the long history of discrimination and marginalization that Native Americans have faced. The Department of Justice will continue to work with communities across America to fulfill the promise of equal protection under the law. “

“The behavior of the defendants was dangerous, motivated by genitalia, and prevented American customers from seeking public access,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This hateful act brings to light a long and painful history of prejudice against the removal of Native Americans. We appreciate the tribal elders, local officials, and advocates who spoke out against this disgraceful act. Our stand must send a message to government agencies across the country.” throughout to keep their doors open to all people regardless of race. As we commemorate Native American Heritage Month, the Department of Justice emphasizes its commitment to stand with Native Americans whenever they face unlawful discrimination.”

“This consent decree confirms what would otherwise have been the case – that Native Americans have the right to equal treatment in the community,” said U.S. Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell for the District of South Dakota. “Although the agreement does not change Ms. Uhre’s abusive behavior or the harm caused by discrimination, the consent decree mandates the removal of Uhre from the management of the company, the immediate termination of the discriminatory policies and the implementation of several preventive measures to be taken. taken at the company’s expense. Participation to the Department of Justice is a strong reminder to all business owners in South Dakota that denial of employment based on race is against the law and will not be tolerated.”

The department’s charges, which were filed in October 2022, said that, since March 20, 2022, Retsel Corporation and its two executives, Connie Uhre and Nicholas Uhre, discriminated against American customers through attitudes and practices that are hostile to Native Americans. and the same joy of finding jobs, lodging, and opportunities at the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino.

In particular, the complaint alleges that on March 20, 2022, Connie Uhre told some Rapid City hotel owners and managers that they “don’t want to let the Indians in the place…. The problem is we don’t know the good from the bad people… so we just turn them away!” Uhre announced on Facebook. that “[w]no no[sic] let every Native American” in the Grand Gateway or in the Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino. The complaint also states that on two occasions, on March 21 and March 22, 2022, respectively, the defendants refused American citizens who wanted to reserve rooms at the Grand Gateway.

An apology, provided as part of an acceptance, will include the following statement:

“We sincerely apologize to everyone for the comments made by Connie Uhre on March 19-20, 2022, about American citizens. Ms. Uhre’s comments were not in line with the principles or policies of our company or our business, the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge. . We deeply regret any pain or hurt that Ms. Uhre has caused to our Native American community. We want to make it clear that we welcome all Native Americans to the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers Sports Lounge.”

The consent decree also requires that the defendants continue to monitor the enforcement of its rules, establish and publish an anti-discrimination policy, establish a complaint procedure, be trained, and develop a marketing plan. These rules will be in force for the next three years. Title II prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin in accommodations, such as hotels and resorts. Under Title II, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may obtain assistance that changes policies and procedures to address discrimination. Title II does not allow the group to seek monetary damages from customers who are being discriminated against.

More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. People can report discrimination in housing that violates Title II by calling the Department of Justice at 1-833-591-0291, or submitting a report online.

See the consent decree here.

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