Chipotle has suspended a South Carolina store manager after Darius Leonard says he was racially expelled from the restaurant after having a private conversation about Black Lives Matter with his family.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker All-Pro made the accusation in an Instagram video Thursday.
He said a white customer complained to the restaurant manager, who then kicked him and his group out strictly based on the man’s accusation.
‘They wanted to call the police’
Leonard did not identify who he was eating with, but referred to them as “family” and described them as “three other black men and a mixed woman.”
“Towards the end of our meal, the manager appeared … with a terrible attitude, asking us if we have a problem,” Leonard said. … “He is saying that a white man said that we were verbally abusing him, talking trash with him.
“It was basically a lie. They basically kicked us out of Chipotle for that. They said they wanted to call the police. That’s being black in America right now. ”
Chipotle investigating Leonard’s claim
Chipotle told Yahoo Sports that the manager has been suspended and that President and CEO Brian Niccol has contacted Leonard.
“We are currently investigating the incident involving Darius Leonard in Florence, South Carolina,” Niccol wrote in a statement. “We have a zero tolerance policy for any type of discrimination and we have suspended our manager while conducting a thorough investigation.
“I personally contacted Darius and I am committed to ensuring that appropriate action is taken once the investigation is complete.”
Leonard said the party was talking about BLM
Leonard said the incident occurred after the complaining client heard his group talk about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We are talking about Black Lives Matter, and the boy looking at us and lying and laughing in our faces as we go out, and the manger … comes up here and basically kicks us out of Chipotle,” Leonard continued.
“And we felt that it was very disrespectful and that is the white privilege that we are talking about. There is no Negro who can sit there and eat in peace without being racially outlined. We know that if that manager had called the police right then, we know what would have gone wrong.
Leonard then spoke about the incident in light of the racial trial that occurs in the United States following the death of George Floyd. He said blacks just want to be treated equally.
“It’s wrong in the United States,” said Leonard. “They wonder why all the protests and all those things are happening right now. We are tired of this. All whites do not understand what we went through.
“We want to be treated equally. Just sit in public, sit and eat without being disturbed. … I need non-blacks to step into our shoes and realize what we are going through and why we feel what we feel.
“You see that the police are killing us. You are all seeing all the injustices that we go through. I live it. Every day. And I’m tired of it. Yes, I’m upset. I’m tired of it. “
Leonard, one of the best young players in the NFL
24-year-old Leonard is approaching his third season with the Colts. He was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 and selected for the Pro Bowl and named All-Pro in 2019.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard praised Leonard for his talent and character.
“I’ll say this, I’ve been around (Brian) Urlacher, (Lance) Briggs and Derrick Johnson, and Darius Leonard has the ability to be as good as all of them,” said Ballard in 2019. “He is very real and has a character. Really very pleased with Darius.