‘Fear’ to be threatened with the police call while dining out

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard said it was “scary” to hear that police could get involved during a dispute that led to him being kicked out of a Chipotle restaurant this week.

“When you think about being a black man now in the United States and hearing that they want to involve the police, the first thing that occurred to me was that I had a wife and son,” Leonard told First Take on Friday on ESPN. . “If the police are involved, you are thinking that you are not coming home. For me to have to sit there and think that my life is in danger just because I am sitting there eating with my family, without causing any problems, it is scary.”

Leonard, who addressed what happened in an Instagram video on Thursday, said he was dining with family and friends, all not white, at a Chipotle in Florence, South Carolina, when a manager ordered them to leave, saying that a White client claimed they were being verbally abusive.

That customer accusation was a lie, Leonard said.

“That is being black in the United States right now,” Leonard said in the video. “We don’t even do anything wrong, we go out to eat with your family, we just try to spend some quality time. You can’t even enjoy eating anymore.”

Leonard said the manager had a “terrible attitude” and made his party leave after threatening to call the police. He told First Take that the manager’s behavior changed after discovering the linebacker’s identity, but that was also discouraging.

“It sucks that you have to be someone in public view that they admire to be treated equally,” Leonard said. “In addition to playing soccer or anything, I am a human being. I want to be treated like everyone else.”

Chipotle CEO and President Brian Niccol said in a statement to the Indianapolis Star that the manager was suspended while the restaurant investigates the incident, adding that the chain has a “zero tolerance policy for any type of discrimination.”

“I personally contacted Darius and am committed to ensuring that appropriate steps are taken once the investigation is complete,” said Niccol.

The Colts also released a statement to show their support for Leonard.

“Darius’ experience demonstrates the struggle that all African Americans and people of color face every day,” the team said. “It also demonstrates why we need serious action by our government leaders, law enforcement, business, and ordinary Americans to end systemic racism and injustice and to continue this important dialogue on how to inspire positive change in our country”.