Attorney responds to Atlanta mayor following Hawks discriminatio - CBS46 News

Attorney responds to Atlanta mayor following Hawks discrimination lawsuit

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The attorney for a fired security manager at Phillips Arena has responded to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed after a spokesperson for the mayor said that claims related to Reed in a discrimination lawsuit against the Atlanta Hawks were false.

The former security manager, Samuel Hayes III, claims that security measures at Phillips Arena were "enforced, or not enforced, based on race," according to the lawsuit.

(MORE: Fired security manager says Philips Arena discriminated against black entertainers)

Hayes filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Hawks, LLC and Jason Parker, its vice president of customer service and operations, for racial discrimination and retaliation.

(MORE: Read the entire lawsuit)

While the lawsuit doesn't target Mayor Reed, he is listed in the lawsuit as allegedly being denied a security exception.

Hayes provides specific examples involving more than a dozen entertainers and well-known people, including Mayor Reed.

Specifically regarding Mayor Reed, Hayes claims in the lawsuit that Parker denied a request from Reed's security detail for the mayor to be dropped off at the media entrance to a Bad Boy Family Reunion concert that Hayes says the mayor attended as a ticket holder. "Parker denied that request even though the Atlanta Hawks had granted the same request when made by white entertainers and celebrities," according to the lawsuit. 

According to Hayes, Parker vented to him that the mayor "thinks he's a celebrity," and "has an attitude that he deserves special privileges" every time he comes in the building, adding that the mayor "thinks he owns the place."

Mayor Reed's spokesperson told CBS46 in a statement that he never requested special privileges or treatment at Phillips Arena. 

The entire statement from the mayor's spokesperson is below:

Mayor Reed has never requested special privileges or treatment at Philips Arena; accordingly, the claims concerning Mayor Reed made in this lawsuit are totally and completely false. 

The Executive Protection Unit of the Atlanta Police Department sets the security protocol for the Mayor’s travel around the city, including to special events at venues like Philips Arena. This unit reports directly to the Chief Erika Shields, who is responsible for ensuring the safety of Mayor Reed and his family.

And as a reminder, the City of Atlanta, through the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, is the majority owner of Philips Arena.

An attorney for Hayes told CBS46 reporter Adam Harding they felt it was necessary to respond to the statement made by Reed's spokesperson. The attorney's entire statement is below:

First, the complaint doesn’t allege that Mayor Kasim Reed personally requested to enter Philips Arena through the media entrance. It alleges that a member of his security detail made that request. Whether the Mayor directed that individual to make the request, or even knew that the request had been made, isn’t relevant to this lawsuit whatsoever. Further, as the complaint states, Mr. Hayes has personal knowledge that such a request was made, as he was physically present at the meeting wherein the request was made.

Second, the Mayor’s office confirmed that the Mayor was at the concert. Third, the statement made by the Mayor’s office concerning the nature of the Mayor’s security detail corroborates what we already know. Fourth, the fact that the City of Atlanta is the majority owner of Phillips Arena isn’t relevant to this lawsuit. The ATL Hawks, LLC lease the arena, control its daily operations, and implemented the discriminatory practices set forth in the lawsuit. Fifth, the vitriol displayed by the Mayor’s office towards Mr. Hayes and his counsel for setting forth facts within Mr. Hayes’s personal knowledge (and towards the AJC for reporting on those factual allegations) was unwarranted. Finally, and most importantly, this case isn’t about the Mayor, it’s about the ATL Hawks, LLC and Jason Parker.

Hayes says in the lawsuit that he was fired as retaliation, but Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Nzinga Shaw says he was fired for "poor performance." 

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