Grand Gateway Hotel Owner in Court for Breaking No-Contact Order

Posted on: June 16, 2023, 05:36h. 

Last updated on: June 16, 2023, 11:34h.

The owner of a South Dakota hotel that made headlines for banning Native Americans appeared in court last week for violating a no-contact order, The Rapid City Journal reports.

Grand Gateway Hotel Connie Uhr, South Dakota
Take the Pledge: A still from a video taken by an NDN protestor allegedly shows Connie Uhre going berserk with a can of dust spray. (Image: NDN Collective)

Connie Uhre, 76, runs the Grand Gateway Hotel and its Cheers casino bar in Rapid City with her son, Nicholas Uhre. She was arrested in May 2022 on charges of simple assault for spraying three Native American protestors with Pledge dust spray. Her victims were demonstrating against Uhre’s “racist and discriminatory” admittance policy.

Uhre was subsequently ordered to have no contact with the victims, an order she is alleged to have broken, according to the latest charges.

Violation of a no-contact order is a Class 1 misdemeanor that comes with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.

Hotel Shooting

The saga dates to March 2022, when Uhre wrote in a Facebook post that she could no longer “allow a Native American to enter our business, including Cheers,” the casino bar that offers video lottery terminals (VLTs).

The announcement followed a shooting in the early hours of March 19, 2022, in one of the hotel rooms. Both the alleged shooter, Quincy Bear Robe, and the victim, Myron Pourier Jr, who later died, were Native American.

The day after Uhre’s Facebook post, indigenous rights campaign group, the NDN Collective, separately sent two of its senior members to the hotel to try to book rooms. Both were denied, according to an NDN civil rights lawsuit.

The incident triggered protests, with dozens of people marching through Rapid City’s main commercial drag to voice opposition to the policy.

Lawsuit Pileup

Uhre’s actions have sparked a torrent of lawsuits in addition to the NDN civil rights case.

First off, the Uhres countersued NDN, claiming “trespass, nuisance, defamation, and civil conspiracy.”

In October 2022, the Department of Justice launched a civil rights violation lawsuit against Uhre and her son, Nicholas, a part owner of the hotel.

Meanwhile, in June 2022, another of Uhre’s sons, Judson Uhre, sued his mother and brother, claiming they had not acted in the best interests of the business.

Then, on March 24 this year, the Uhres were sued by Myron Pourier Sr, the father of the shooting victim. He claims the Uhres failed to keep guests at the hotel safe by not protecting against criminal activity.

None of these cases have been resolved.

Connie Uhre is due back in court on July 6 for a status hearing on the assault and no-contact violation charges.