Man says he was racially profiled at Miami Beach Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Encounter with agent captured on cellphone video

A man visiting from Atlanta says he was refused a car because he is Black. He recorded an exchange with an agent who ultimately called police.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A man visiting Miami Beach says he was racially discriminated against at an Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

“To relive it is crazy,” says Shawn King, 49, of Atlanta.

King says he came to the location on 5th Street in South Beach twice to get a rental car in January. On the first day, he says he waited three hours just to find out that there wasn’t a vehicle available.

On the second day, out of frustration, he recorded the exchange with his cellphone.

“I waited over an hour yesterday,” King says on the video.

“Sir, I’m not renting you a car,” the agent responds.

“Well, then I want to talk to corporate and I’ll stay until you close,” King says.

She ultimately called police.

“I have a person that is refusing to leave and recording me without authorization,” the agent said, as captured on King’s video.

When asked, the car rental worker described King to police. But King’s attorney says this was racial, adding that he was refused a rental car because he is Black.

“She called the police and reported that a ‘Black man’ was causing a disturbance,” said Jasmine Rand, King’s attorney

“She actually does not have the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason she wants, because we have the Civil Rights Act,” Rand added.

When police arrived, King’s video shows the agent telling officers that she had a car but wouldn’t rent it to King “because he is being extremely rude.”

Enterprise released a statement saying it intends to look into the incident.

“We condemn discrimination of any kind and take these allegations very seriously,” the company’s statement said. “We were recently made aware of the complaint and have been in the process of gathering all of the information and reviewing the details of the incident. We have not seen the referenced recording related to this matter, but plan to review it as soon as it is made available to us. We have made attempts to reach out to the attorneys involved to further discuss this matter.”

Rand says she plans to file a lawsuit demanding that Enterprise fire the employee and require racial sensitivity training for the rest of the staff.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.