Black US Army Officer Suing Harrah’s New Orleans for Casino Entry Refusal

  • Deja Harrison, 23, is suing the casino after security officers claimed her military ID was fake
  • Casino security appeared to call out the local police department, but they never showed up
  • Harrison said she shouldn’t “be discriminated against” because of rank, race, and gender
  • Her lawyer James Desimone said security denied her casino access “based on her race”
  • The US army officer was intending to play slots while celebrating her step-brother’s 21st
facade of Harrah's New Orleans casino
A young black US army officer is suing Harrah’s New Orleans after a security detail refused her entry, claiming her military ID was questionable. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Security officers questioned ID

US Army second lieutenant Deja Harrison, 23, is suing Harrah’s New Orleans casino after security officers refused her entry, claiming the woman pictured on her military ID was not her.

In a video LT Harrison shared on Twitter that has since gone viral, a Harrah’s security officer says the IDs were real, but that “I don’t think this is you”:

The security detail in the October 5 video then said he would call the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) so Harrison could explain herself to them.

Rather than just walk away, Harrison – who intended to join her family in celebrating her step-brother’s 21st birthday at the casino – made a stand, saying later:

I decided to stand there, stand up for myself because I was not in the wrong.”

The Harrah’s employee appeared to dial the NOPD, but despite Harrison saying she waited for two hours, the police never showed up. The army officer tweeted: “I shouldn’t be discriminated against just bc I’m a high-ranked 23 yr old black female in the Army!”

According to NewsNation, Harrison’s lawyer James Desimone stated that he and a team of attorneys in Louisiana are ready to file a civil lawsuit on the army lieutenant’s behalf.

Harrah’s defense

Harrah’s subsequently took to Twitter on October 7 with a statement. It said the issue began when Harrison’s Louisiana driver’s license “did not clear our electronic verification system.”

The statement added that, when asked for an alternative form of ID, Harrison produced a military ID card which contradicted what “she had verbally communicated to our security officers.”

Harrah’s concluded that it felt “saddened” by the situation, and that parent company Caesars Entertainment has an “unwavering commitment to diversity and our military.”

security officer “clearly engaged in stereotypical thinking and implicit bias.”

Harrison’s lawyer, like his client, sees it differently. Desimone stated that the security officer “clearly engaged in stereotypical thinking and implicit bias.”

Harrah’s name has come up before in connection to alleged racial bias. In January 2021, a man who claimed he was an ex-Marine Corp filed a $10m lawsuit against Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino, alleging racial abuse. Darryl Allen, 59, has been in an Illinois jail since 2018 for an attack on two of the casino’s patrons.

Desimone cited a violation of Louisiana human rights laws. He added: “In engaging in those stereotypes he’s denying her access to a public facility based on her race.”

“Shocked and appalled”

Harrison, who had visited the casino twice before with no issues, had been intending to try her luck on Harrah’s slots.

“I mean, not only was it humiliating, but I was just shocked and appalled that somebody would say I’m actually not an Army and that my ID was fake,” she said after the incident.

According to Nola.com, Harrison doesn’t want an apology unless it’s authentic. The news channel concluded that the outcome she really wants is that it doesn’t happen again to another person serving in the US military.