CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) – A team of youth football cheerleaders allegedly suffered racial discrimination from a South Charleston hotel in December, according to a report by the West Virginia Record.
The parents of the student, named R.C. in court documents, claim allegations against Hope Carroll, the general manager of the hotel, and Chesapeake Hospitality LLC, doing business as the Holiday Inn and Suites Charleston West. Official documents were filed December 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The attorney representing the plaintiffs, Michael Cary, was interviewed and said that there is no justice without accountability, and that he is concerned that incidences like this are still happening to African-American children in 2022.
R.C. is listed as a cheerleader for the Dunbar Bullpups C Team football team in the complaint. Cheer team director, Courtney Williams made the reservation on November 27 for three rooms at a discounted rate. The document stated that the hotel encourages sports teams to stay and enjoy their facilities on their social media.
While booking, Williams shared with the hotel staff that the team would be celebrating a first place win from a recent grand championship contest. Williams wanted to utilize the pool and rooms for a slumber party for the 25 students, ages 5 to 7, who would be accompanied by five chaperones.
Williams arrived on December 3 to ensure the rooms were ready and talked with staff about having enough beds for all the guests. The staff assured Williams that the additional cots would be provided.
The document goes on to say the staff never raised issues about the children or adults staying overnight or using the pool area in the evening, and as the first three Caucasian children arrived with their parents to check in, the staff was very hospitable and welcoming.
A short while later, the African-American children arrived with their families and it was then that Carroll stopped the new arrivals in the lobby and was overheard saying that this was “going to end badly.”
The complaint continues to state that Carroll began telling the children they would need to leave the hotel immediately, that they were breaking numerous rules. While two children began crying in fear and confusing, multiple adults asked what rules the children were breaking along with requesting and explanation from Carroll.
Carroll was allegedly witnessed to refuse answering any questions and talked directly to the children, “shooing” out the front door, who complied and left crying.
William’s claim stated the children were frightened and heartbroken.
The complaint then stated that children had tried to send text messages to their parents but had not received the hotel’s Wi-Fi password yet.
When Williams was informed, and then called the hotel to speak to Carroll, the defendant refused to answer why the children had been treated that way, and stated that all of the team guests had to leave.
Williams claimed that Carroll treated the African-American guests, including children, chaperone adults, and parents of some of the children with racist and inhumane treatment causing fear, confusing and extreme mental anguish.
The attorney for Williams stated that a quick social media search uncovered more about Carroll.
Cary told The Record, that there is an expectation of decency and respect for all guests when a national chain hires a general manager. It didn’t take his office long to uncover that Carroll follows and liked several known extremist hate groups on Facebook.
The plaintiffs accuse the defendants of negligence and unlawful discrimination under the West Virginia Human Rights Act. The court documents also accuse the defendant chain of negligent hiring, supervision and retention.
Suffering psychological injuries, pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, indignity, embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance, shame, inconvenience and other injuries, the plaintiff seeks compensatory, punitive damages along with pre- and post-judgment interests, court costs, attorney fees and other relief
The Kanawha Circuit Court case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers.