Via his personal Instagram account, Indianapolis Colts All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard said he was racially profiled on Thursday in a Chipotle restaurant in Florence, South Carolina (it sounds like the one on 2617 David H. McLeod Boulevard to be exact):
Leonard said he was casually eating a meal with three other black males and a mixed female—and minding their own business while enjoying one another’s company, when the restaurant’s manager approached the table.
Leonard stated the manager ‘came up with a terrible attitude’ and threatened to call the police because a white male customer complained to him that Leonard and his friends were verbally abusing the customer and ‘talking trash’—which Leonard reiterated was a lie.
Leonard and his group did not really know what was going on, but they were very aware of the consequences of being black in such a racially charged scenario (with police potentially involved) and left the restaurant voluntarily.
Leonard goes on to passionately plea about the injustices and dangers of being black in America (this just being one of many recent examples):
“That’s what being Black in America is right now,” Leonard said. “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 enjoying eating anymore.”
“Ya’ll see the police killing us. Ya’ll seeing all of the injustices that we go through. I live it. Day in and day out, and I’m (expletive) tired of it. Yes, I’m upset. I’m tired of it.”
However, it’s worth hearing it from his own voice, so please just watch the above video for yourself.
Being a Black male in America is very scary!— Darius Leonard (@dsleon45) June 25, 2020
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the ensuring national civil unrest/protests—which was a boiling over point after many other repeated racial incidents, this country still has a ways to go as it relates to improving social justice, equality, and fairness for black people.
The entire Colts organization has placed a great emphasis on ‘Black Lives Matter’ in recent weeks—noting that more needs to be done to spark social change, awareness, and justice.
If Leonard was victimized for simply publicly eating a meal and talking among black friends, then that’s truly disgraceful—and yet another incident of racial profiling/targeting that has to end.
Update (9:53 PM EST):
According to the IndyStar’s Jim Ayello, Brian Nicool, the Chairman and CEO of Chipotle, has his restaurant chain investigating the incident—which has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.
Accordingly, Chipotle has suspended the manager whose conduct is in question while it completes its thorough investigation. Nicool has already reached out to Leonard.
Update (10:09 EST):
Per Ayello, the Colts have offered a statement of support for Leonard:
Update: @Colts provide statement of support for @dsleon45.— jimayello (@jimayello) June 26, 2020
Story: https://t.co/Puub7hno0t pic.twitter.com/a0rMPQ5mdi