Grand Gateway Owner in Court for Breaking No-Contact Order
Last week, The Rapid City Journal reported that the owner of a South Dakota hotel, who had made headlines for banning Native Americans, had gone to court for breaching a no-contact order.
In May of 2022, 76-year-old Connie Uhre was arrested and charged with simple assault for her altercation against three Native American protestors outside of the Grand Gateway Hotel and Cheers casino bar in Rapid City, which she runs with her son, Nicholas Uhre. Uhre allegedly sprayed the demonstrators with “Pledge dust spray” after they protested the hotel’s “racist and discriminatory” admittance policy. A still from a video taken by the protestors showed her attacking them with the spray. Following her arrest, Uhre was ordered to have no contact with the victims. However, she is now facing additional charges for violating the no-contact order, which is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
In March 2022, Uhre made a post on Facebook that said that no Native American could enter her business, Cheers, which features video lottery terminals. This decision came after a shooting happened in one of the hotel rooms in the early hours of March 19th, wherein both Quincy Bear Robe (the alleged shooter) and Myron Pourier Jr (the victim who later passed away) were Native American. As a response, the NDN Collective sent two of its senior members to the hotel to attempt to book rooms, yet were unsuccessful. This sparked unrest and numerous people marched through Rapid City in protest against the policy, causing a multitude of lawsuits to arise.
Connie Uhre’s actions have led to a multitude of lawsuits besides the NDN civil rights case. The Uhres counter sued NDN for “trespass, nuisance, defamation, and civil conspiracy”. In October 2022, the Department of Justice filed a civil rights violation suit against Connie Uhre and her son, Nicholas, who is a part owner of the hotel. Furthermore, in June of last year, another of Connie’s sons, Judson Uhre, sued his mother and brother, alleging they did not act in the best interest for the business. On March 24 of the present year, the Uhres were also brought to court by Myron Pourier Sr – the father of the shooting victim – who accused the Uhres of not providing safe conditions for guests by not containing criminal activity. Up to this point, none of these cases have been settled and Connie Uhre is expected to attend a status hearing on July 6 over her assault and no-contact violation charges.
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