‘She Brought a Police Officer’: Houston’s Manager Demands Black Couple Leave Restaurant Because They Smelled ‘Like Weed,’ Then Called Cops to Force Them Out; Now, She’s Facing a Lawsuit

A new federal lawsuit claims a white Houston’s manager in Memphis, Tennessee, accused a Black couple of smelling like marijuana before requesting they leave the restaurant last August. The complaint was filed on May 11.

According to the lawsuit, Dechandria Bass and Dwan Brown were visiting the Houston’s located at 5000 Poplar Avenue in Memphis on or around Aug. 7, 2022, from Mississippi. After they’d been seated at a table with Brown’s mother and cousin, the manager came by their table and asked them to leave while claiming they smelled “like weed.” The couple claimed they knew they did not smell like weed and remained seated.

Dechandria Bass Dwan Brown
Dechandria Bass (left) and Dwan Brown (right) have filed a lawsuit after being escorted out of a Houston’s restaurant in Memphis after being accused of smelling like weed. (Photo: Fox 13 News screenshot / YouTube)

The complaint noted that the manager — identified as Kayla Hollins — later returned to the table with a police officer and said, “I asked you to leave and come back tomorrow because you smell like weed.” The police officer then escorted the couple out of the restaurant. The restaurant’s genral manager Ralph Price is also named in the lawsuit.

Once outside, another police officer reportedly admitted to the couple that Hollins has a history of racism with the restaurant’s Black clientele and “regularly interacted this way towards Black patrons.”

Bass and Brown’s attorney Carlos Moore says the accusation his clients smelled like weed is not true, while adding there is no evidence that the couple smelled like marijuana. He claimed they were racially profiled and humiliated as a result. Moore said his clients are asking for $500,000 each in damages for “humiliation, embarrassment” and the “emotional distress” and anguish they suffered due to the actions of the Houston’s manager.

“Houston’s has a problem,” said Moore to local station WHBQ-TV of Houston’s and Hollins. “She brought a police officer with her and had them escorted out of the restaurant, embarrassed them in front of his mom and his cousin, entire restaurant.”

“Now that the lawsuit is officially filed, Houston’s can no longer ignore me,” he continued.

The lawsuit also accused Houston’s of “malicious, callous, bad faith, willful, wanton, and reckless misconduct” by refusig to serve the couple and having them removed from the restaurant.

Another family says they were also asked to leave the same Houston’s around the same month as the couple. Marcus Mosby — a 28-year veteran police officer — says that he and his high school principal wife were asked to leave by the manager after they were accused of smelling like marijuana.

“She said, ‘There’s a strong odor of marijuana coming from your party in this area.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, we don’t smoke marijuana,” Mosby recalled. “You’re mistaken.’ She said, ‘I’ve gotten complaints. People have called and said they smell.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, no one has walked past us but you.’”

Mosby said that the manager later apologized and admitted she was mistaken, but he doesn’t plan to eat at the restaurant again.

Houston’s parent company, Hillstone Restaurant Group, released statement claiming they do not discriminate.

“While we do not comment on pending litigation, our Company does not discriminate. We are proud that guests of all races choose to dine regularly at Houston’s Memphis and appreciate our hospitality.”

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