PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Drum Bar inside the Rivers Casino was shut down abruptly on Friday night, July 21, and Kenneth Wright, who has used this bar before, thinks he knows why.
“The only difference was the majority of the crowd was African American on that particular night,” Wright told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
That’s because Wright’s group of black motorcyclists — the Ruff Ryders — booked the facility and put money down to keep the bar open until 2 a.m.
Instead, casino security officials shut down the DJ and closed off the bar at midnight.
“I think it was race because any other Friday night they never done that,” said Wright. “I’ve been down there a few times where the crowd, the numbers, were the same.”
The official capacity is a 115, and there’s a dispute over how many patrons were present.
The casino says this has absolutely nothing to do with race, but was simply a question of too many people.
It became so crowded that it endangered public safety, they say, although casino officials are still investigating to find out exactly what happened here.
Rivers officials were not available to appear on camera, but issued this statement:
“The casino has a zero tolerance policy for racism of any kind. The Drum Bar closed early last Friday due to crowd capacity and related safety concerns. All groups of 50 or more are encouraged to reserve banquet rooms. We have apologized to the Pittsburgh Ruff Ryders for any misunderstanding.”
After a report in the New Pittsburgh Courier, the casino refunded nearly $500 paid by the Ruff Ryders and invited them back.
But Wright says, while some blacks may boycott the casino, he wants a public apology before returning.
“We paid our money just like anyone else, and we expect to be treated like anyone else, not to be treated differently just because of the color of our skin.”