Chipotle has suspended the manager of a South Carolina store after Darius Leonard says that he was racially profiled and kicked out of the restaurant after having a private conversation about Black Lives Matter with his family.
The Indianapolis Colts All-Pro linebacker made the accusation on an Instagram video Thursday.
He said that a white customer complained to the restaurant’s manager, who then kicked him and his party out based strictly on the man’s accusation.
‘They wanted to call the police’
Leonard didn’t identify who he was eating with, but referred to them as “family” and described them as “three other Black guys and a mixed woman.”
“Toward the end of our meal, the manager come up ... with a terrible attitude, asking us do we have a problem,” Leonard said. … “He’s saying that a white guy said we was verbally abusing him, talking trash to him.
“It was basically a lie. We basically got kicked out of Chipotle because of that. They said that they wanted to call the police on us. That’s what being Black in America is right now.”
Chipotle investigating Leonard’s claim
Chipotle told Yahoo Sports that the manager has been suspended and that Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol has reached out to Leonard.
“We are currently investigating the incident involving Darius Leonard in Florence, South Carolina,” Niccol wrote in statement. “We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and we have suspended our manager while we conduct a thorough investigation.
“I’ve personally reached out to Darius and I’m committed to ensuring the appropriate action is taken once the investigation concludes.”
Leonard said party was talking about BLM
Leonard said the incident occurred after the complaining customer heard his party talking about the Black Lives Matter movement.
"We’re talking about Black Lives Matter, and for the guy to look at us and lie and laugh in our face as we walk out, and the manger ... come up here and just basically kick us out of Chipotle,” Leonard continued.
“And, we felt like he was very disrespectful and that’s the white privilege that we are talking about. There’s no Black guy that can sit there and eat peacefully without being racially profiled. We know that if that manager would have called the cops right then and there, we know what would have went down.”
Leonard then talked about the incident in light of the race reckoning happening in America in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He said that Black people just want to be treated equally.
“It’s wrong in America,” Leonard said. “Y’all wonder why all the protests and all that stuff is going on right now. We are tired of this. Y’all white people don’t understand what we go through.
“We want to be treated equally. Just go sit down in public, go sit down and eat without being bothered. … I need the non-Blacks to take a step in our shoes and realize the s--- that we go through and why we feel the way we feel.
“Y’all see the police killing us. Y’all seeing all the injustices that we go through. I live it. Day in and day out. And, I’m f---ing tired of it. Yes, I’m upset. I’m tired of it.”
Leonard a top young NFL player
Leonard, 24, is approaching his third season with the Colts. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 and selected to the Pro Bowl and named All-Pro in 2019.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has praised Leonard for his talent and his character.
“I will say this, I’ve been around [Brian] Urlacher, [Lance] Briggs and Derrick Johnson, and Darius Leonard has the ability to be every bit as good as all of them,” Ballard said in 2019. “He is real-deal good and he’s got real-deal character. Very pleased with Darius.”
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