(NewsNation) — Car rental company Hertz has apologized after a Puerto Rican man was denied a car for what an employee told him was an invalid driver’s license.
The incident occurred at New Orleans International Airport, where Humberto Marchand says he was wrongly denied a car because he did not have his passport, WDSU-TV reported. Marchand is a U.S. citizen and Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory; residents are not required to carry a passport when flying into or out of the continental U.S.
Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr said in a letter to Congresswoman Jennifer González-Colón the company apologized to Marchand and gave him a refund, as reported by WVUE-TV.
“Since this incident occurred, we have taken multiple steps to ensure our team is better trained on our identification policies,” Scherr wrote in the letter. “This includes rewriting a policy to be even more clear about the status of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.”
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González-Colón had previously written to Scherr, calling the employee’s refusal of service “deeply troubling.”
“It is unacceptable that, more than 100 years after having obtained US citizenship, Puerto Ricans are still being discriminated against and treated like second-class American citizens,” González-Colón wrote in the letter.
The ordeal was captured on Marchand’s cellphone, as well as the body-worn camera of a police officer who responded to a disturbance call.
That officer, from the Kenner Police Department, is now under investigation for how he handled the incident, WDSU-TV reported. Marchand says he was asked by the officer to leave, and while doing so heard the officer suggest he would call “the border authorities.”
The police department said the officer cannot be heard making any such remarks but apologized for the encounter.
“I don’t think that’s the way we want to be portrayed and (Marchand) shouldn’t have been spoken to in that manner,” Police Chief Keith Conley told WVUE.