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Lawsuit alleges racial discrimination at Floyd's 99 barbershop in Denver

Attorney: Plaintiff assumes a limping African American must be drunk
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-02 18:03:04-04

DENVER -- A new lawsuit alleges racial discrimination at a popular barbershop in Denver.

According to the suit filed in Denver district court, the Floyd's 99 location on Broadway in Denver discriminated against Darcel Harris simply because he’s black and walks with a limp.

In a police report, Floyd’s employees allege Harris was “mumbling and he was extremely drunk or high.”

But, Harris’ attorney says the surveillance video from inside the barbershop clearly shows otherwise.

"He starts to ask about haircuts and before he can even get a sentence out, he gets shoved and pushed," said consumer protection attorney Ian Hicks.

In the video from inside the barbershop, you clearly see Harris walk through the door. Within six seconds a female employee confronts him, tries to push him out and then Harris yanks his arm away.

"She just came out of nowhere," Harris tells Denver7.

There is no audio, but it's clear Harris is not welcome.

Minutes later, outside the barbershop, police body cam video shows Harris being arrested. In the audio, you can hear Harris ask why he’s being taken into custody.

"People are calling that you're harassing businesses,” the officer says. “Harassing my ass,” Harris replies. “Ok,” the office says. “Harassing me," says Harris.

The Floyd's 99 barbershop claims Harris was drunk.

"She assumes a limping African American male walking into a barbershop on a Saturday afternoon must be drunk,” Hicks said. “Must be up to no good. That black man's a criminal."

"Were you drunk?” Denver7 reporter Russell Haythorn asks Harris.

“No,” Harris responds.

Harris' limp is a permanent disability, related to a tumor doctors removed from his leg years ago, he says.

"That's why I walk like this," he said. “I wake up in pain most days.”

The Denver District Attorney’s Office has thrown out the criminal case against Harris.

"The District Attorney dropped charges as soon as he saw the tape,” Hicks said. “The tape does speak for itself."

In the lawsuit, Hicks alleges false imprisonment because employees stated Harris "shoved" the woman first, when the video shows otherwise. The suit also alleges racial discrimination.

"As Mr. Harris was walking out of the barbershop, she says, 'His pants were around his ankles.' That's the patina of racial discrimination that we see here,” Hicks said. “And, I think it proves why this happens."

Harris says he had never been in that shop until the moment the video shows him walking in.

"I had never sat down in a chair there before,” Harris said. “Never got cut up over there."

Denver7 reached out to Floyd's for comment - we have not heard back.

"He was charged with assault,” Hicks said. “When all he did was leave his granny's house and walk into a barbershop on a Saturday afternoon."

The suit is seeking an unspecified amount in damages. Colorado law prohibits that.

“Whatever the jury thinks is fair,” Hicks said.