By: Victor Ochieng
The idea that many racists hold in this nation that all people of color are criminals is not only out of order but becoming a serious matter of concern. Recently twenty-five members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority filed a case in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court against Bahama Breeze, following an incident that took place back in June. In June, a manager of the Orange Village restaurant called police on members of the group numbering approximately 40 of them, believing that they were not going to pay their bill.
According to the lawsuit, “The Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Orange Village, Ohio invites the public to ‘explore island flavors in warm and welcoming atmosphere.’ But instead, the restaurant targeted Plaintiffs for dining while black.”
According to the lawsuit, the sorority members and their guests were made to wait up to an hour before being offered seats despite having made reservations. After which they experienced disinterested and glacial service throughout their time there. They were then surprised to find out a manger had called the police on them claiming they were not planning to pay their bill, despite the fact that most of their guests had not eaten let alone receive checks.
To make matters worse for them, another manager stood with officers demanding receipts before allowing them to leave the room, even to use the restrooms.
Scene News reports that, “The plaintiffs, all African-American, include educators, psychologists, medical professionals, IT professionals, journalists, authors, guidance counselors, a real estate broker and even a retired principal. “Bahama Breeze and its staff treated these professional, educated patrons like criminals because of the color of their skin,” the lawsuit says. Bahama Breeze Corporate and two white managers are the defendants named in the case.”
The court documents state that manager Devin Jenkins actually sat the group down in a private room, and quoted to have said, “You and your people cannot leave out of this room for anything.” And the manager who called the police goes by the name Francis Skupnik.
The suit went ahead to state that, “The assumption that the patrons in [the Plantiff’s] party were not going to pay was based not on anything Plaintiffs had done but on invidious stereotypes about black criminality.” The group is being represented by the The Chandra Law Firm.
The Scene News also points out that, “For this particular Bahama Breeze location, this isn’t the first time they’ve been sued for failing to treat people of color like human beings. In 2009, the restaurant’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, Inc., was forced to shell out a whopping $1.26 million in a lawsuit settlement regarding the racially targeted harassment of 37 black workers. The lawsuit claimed that managers used racial slurs, mimicked black employees and denied them work breaks.”
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, is part of the 400 members of the Cleveland chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and she once served as the president of the national chapter. The incident is not only unbelievable but it brings to light the depth at which racial profiling and harassment is rooted in the nation.