Suit filed over threat to ban Native Americans from SD hotel

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside a federal courthouse in a South Dakota city to cheer the filing of a federal lawsuit over a hotel owner’s pledge to ban Native Americans from the property.

The protesters held a rally and prayer meeting in a Rapid City park Wednesday then walked the streets in response to a social media post by a Grand Gateway Hotel owner who said she would not allow Native Americans on the property.

The lawsuit seeks class action status.

Brendan Johnson, a former U.S. attorney for South Dakota and the lawyer for the plaintiffs, says the "rest of the world" needs to know what’s going on in Rapid City. The suit seeks unnamed general and punitive damages.

Connie Uhre, one of the owners of the hotel, said in a Facebook post Sunday that she cannot allow a Native American to enter her business following a shooting at the hotel early Saturday. Police say both the victim, who survived, and the suspect are Native American.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier and Mayor Steve Allender both condemned Connie Uhre’s post, with Allender calling it unlawful and heartless.

Rapid City ABC affiliate KOTA-TV reported that Nick Uhre sent an email to the station saying that a Native American ban is not hotel policy and condemning the mayor for what he called "cancel culture."