Portland family says they were racially profiled at Dave and Buster's
HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. -- A Happy Valley family says they were racially profiled during a family trip to Dave and Buster's in Clackamas Town Center last weekend.
Rachel Batiste-Barber said she and her family almost never come to Dave and Buster’s but over the weekend there was a promotion, so she and her husband packed up their two kids and came for fun.
About an hour and a half into playing, everything changed. A 16-year-old girl's purse was stolen, but quickly returned to the front desk with some money missing.
“A family came up and asked if we turned in a purse, and I said, 'No ma’am that wasn’t us,'” Batiste-Barber said.
According to Batiste-Barber, an employee of Dave and Buster’s described the man who turned in the purse as a “black man with braids” just like her husband, Andre.
“At that moment, I was just confused... it just took me a second to register, 'Are you accusing my husband of stealing?'” Batiste-Barber said.
The ordeal went on for quite some time, even after another employee pointed out that it was not Andre who turned in the purse.
At some point Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene.
“Somehow my husband fit a description that was not given to the police. He was run for warrants and questioned by police and ultimately, we were escorted out,” Batiste-Barber said.
In her mind, Batiste-Barber said she just kept thinking about her two kids that were with them, watching their father being questioned and accused of stealing.
“I was frustrated to the point of tears, I was angry, I was hurt... my husband was very calm and was very much like, 'I’m used to this,'” Batiste-Barber said. “I think that’s what hurts the most, is that this is so common."
In the end, what was supposed to be a fun outing has turned into a family nightmare.
“We didn’t get to finish our time at Dave and Buster’s... we didn’t go to dinner, I had been in tears, the kids were scared and just wanted to go home,” Batiste-Barber said.
April Spearman, vice president of marketing of Dave and Buster’s released the following statement to KATU News:
“Dave & Buster’s is committed to maintaining an inclusive environment that’s welcoming to all guests. We sincerely apologize to the Batiste family for their distressing experience. This matters to us and irrespective of the outcome of our internal investigation, we will be re-educating our team on sensitivity and guest relations.”
Batiste-Barber said she posted the ordeal on Facebook because she was frustrated. After thousands shared her story, she said she is amazed to see how much support her family has gotten.