INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard used his personal Instagram account Thursday to detail what he described as a “racially-profiling’’ incident that led to him and four acquaintances being kicked out of a Chipotle in Florence, South Carolina.
The manager of the restaurant has been suspended because of his handling of the situation.
“That’s what being Black in America is right now,’’ Leonard said on the video. “Us not even doing anything wrong, going out to eat with your family, just trying to spend a little bit of quality time. Can’t even enjoy eating anymore.
“Toward the end of our meal, the manager come up with a terrible attitude, asking us do we have a problem. 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 the 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.’’
In a response to Indystar.com, Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO of Chipotle, said the incident was being investigated.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind and we have suspended our manager while we conduct a thorough investigation,’’ he said. “I’ve personally reached out to Darius, and I’m committed to ensuring the appropriate action is taken once the investigation concludes.’’
Leonard, 24 and one of the Colts’ rising stars, explained on his Instagram post he “three other Black guys and a mixed woman’’ were eating and separated from most of the other patrons. At some point, a white customer complained to management Leonard and his group were “verbally abusing him.”
Leonard indicated the white customer took exception when his group was discussing 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 manager . . . come up here and just basically kick us out of Chipotle,’’ he said. “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 if the manager would have called the cops right then and there, we know what would have happened.’’
Click here to view Leonard’s Instagram post.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.