*Kim Ohaegbulam, a Black medical student, had been at the bar celebrating the completion of a school project with two friends. But when it came time to use the restroom, his friends had no problems, but he did. The manager at Landmark Tavern, a bar in New York City wouldn’t allow the student to use the bathroom because of his skin color.
Ohaegbulam is black, and his friends were Asian.
The incident happened in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, on September 27th.
Ohaegbulam, 28, says when he tried to go and use the facilities he was stopped by the night manager who said the restrooms were only for paying customers.
Ohaegbulam told the manager he had been at the bar drinking for 45 minutes – and even had the bar’s security guard corroborate his claims, but it made no difference to the manager.
Growing up in Alabama and Florida during his youth, Ohaegbulam said this was a first! “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my 28 years. I’ve never been denied the use of a bathroom anywhere.”
And adding insult to injury, the manager then called the police, and Ohaegbulam was given a summons for disorderly conduct.
Ohaegbulam, a student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine while he works on his MD and Doctorate will file a racial discrimination lawsuit against Landmark Tavern and against the city for false arrest.
“I don’t like to play the race card, but it’s what it was. It was a blatant form of racial discrimination. I’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again at that establishment,” he said while talking to reporters. “I’m a medical student but I’m also a black man. I felt like what happened to me is the same as what happened during the civil rights era and Jim Crow.”