Barred from Casino at 73, woman wants an apology

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GWENDOLYN DEVEREAUX

 

Gwendolyn Devereaux, 73, and her “Geritol buddies” used to go to the Rivers Casino two or three times a week for the buffet and some fun with the penny slots. But an incident in March changed all that.

“I was barred from the Casino because they said I was fighting,” said the grandmother of nine. “My friends laughed when I told them, until they saw it was true.”

And it was. Producing several documents for the Courier including the original citation, court papers, and a Rivers Casino form with the header “Lifetime Ejection/Exclusion” signed by casino Security Supervisor Michael Reeves, Devereaux said the whole thing started as a verbal altercation with another woman.

According to the citation filled out by Pennsylvania State Trooper Ronald D. Vetovich Jr., Devereaux “engaged in fighting or threatening or tumultuous behavior…yelling, waiving her arms in the air and using profanity in public.” At the bottom of the citation where it lists the victim, Vetovich wrote, “Society.”

How did this happen? Deveraux said she was leaving the Casino when she spotted a friend who was working on the same Primary Election campaign and went to ask him about some literature. For whatever reason another younger woman also working on the campaign called Devereaux a name.

“She called me a nebby bitch. So yeah, I told her I ain’t no bitch, bitch. And so she called security,” said Devereaux. “By the time they got there it was over, and I was sitting over by the Drum bar. And I told them, there’s two things you don’t call me, and that’s one of them.”

In July, District Magistrate Derwin Rushing found her not guilty, but not only was the damage done, it continued, said Devereaux.

Right after that, she said Rivers Director of Security Jim Cahill told her on the phone “At this time, perhaps people of your kind should not come back in here.” On Sept. 1, he called again and said she could come back on the 28th.

Devereaux has forwarded copies of all her paperwork to Allegheny County Councilwoman Amanda Green-Hawkins after reading in the New Pittsburgh Courier of her trying to address racial concerns raised by an earlier incident at the Rivers Casino involving the Ruff Ryders, a Black motorcycle club.

At a minimum, she said she wants an “open and public apology” for the ejection and for the comments made by Cahill.

“I want to ask (Casino General Manager Craig Clark) face-to-face how he’d feel if his mother or grandmother were treated like that. I want an open and public apology. I want to feel whole. I lived through being treated like I was less than a person. And I want him to know he’s not going to do this to me and get away with it.”

Green-Hawkins said she had spoken to Deveraux and would look into the matter further.

“If what she says is true, I would say, yes, an apology is in order,” said Green-Hawkins.

When reached for comment Rivers Casino spokes­man Jack Horner issued the following statement:

“As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on individual player matters. When the Pennsylvania State Police issues a citation for disorderly conduct on property, the casino may also issue a temporary or permanent ban. That’s standard operating procedure, and our security director strongly denies any derogatory remarks.”

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

 

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