Black couple accused of smelling ‘like weed’ are kicked out of Memphis eatery, racial discrimination suit says
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Antonio Planas, NBC News
Dechandria Bass and Dwan Brown were kicked out of Houston’s Restaurant on Aug. 7, the federal lawsuit says.
A Black couple who were kicked out of a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, last year for allegedly smelling like marijuana filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the eatery last week.
Dechandria Bass and her boyfriend, Dwan Brown, of Coahoma County in Mississippi, were in Tennessee on Aug. 7 to visit Brown’s mother and cousin, according to the suit, filed Thursday in federal court.
The couple met up with the family members at Houston’s Restaurant on Poplar Avenue in Memphis.
Shortly after they arrived, restaurant manager Kayla Hollins, who is white, went to the group’s table and told the couple to leave because “they smelled like weed,” according to the lawsuit.
Bass and Brown didn’t initially react and thought Hollins was talking to someone else, because they knew they didn’t smell like marijuana, the suit says.
Moments later, according to the lawsuit, Hollins returned to the table with a police officer and told the couple, “I asked you to leave and come back tomorrow because you smell like weed.”
Carlos Moore, an attorney representing the couple, said Wednesday his clients don’t smoke marijuana and hadn’t smoked the day they were booted from the restaurant.
What was supposed to be a “great family outing” was “ruined,” Moore said. His clients were discriminated against because they are Black, said Moore, who added the marijuana accusation was “Jim Crow era 2.0 — a new way to discriminate” in the restaurant industry.
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Learn more about the Jim Crow era, referenced in this article, here.
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