Witness Backs Claim That Darius Leonard Was Racially Profiled At Chipotle, Manager Suspended (VIDEO)
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 earlier this week.
“When you think about being a Black male now in America, and to hear that they want to involve the police — the first thing that went in my mind was I have a wife and a kid,” Leonard told ESPN’s First Take on Friday. “If the police is involved, you’re thinking you’re not making it home. For me to have to sit there and think that my life is in jeopardy just because I’m sitting there eating with my family, not causing no problem, is scary.”
The Indianapolis Colts linebacker addressed his experience in an Instagram video Thursday, when he stated he was simply dining with family and friends when a Chipolte manager ordered them to leave, saying a white customer claimed they were being verbally abusive.
“That’s what being Black in America is right now,” Leonard said in 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. You can’t even enjoying eating anymore.”
Fast forward to Saturday and TMZ Sports is now reporting that a witness is now backing his claim that he was indeed racially profiled.
“The witness spoke to us on the condition of anonymity — but we were able to confirm the person was at the South Carolina location at the time of Thursday’s incident.
The witness says Leonard was peacefully enjoying his meal with his party and NEVER trash-talked the other patron — who had complained to management about Leonard’s group being aggressive and unruly.
We’re told the Indianapolis Colts superstar appeared upset when the manager asked his group to leave — but he never lost his cool.
In fact, we’re told after leaving the restaurant, Leonard went back inside to explain to the manager why he believed the situation was unfair and racially motivated.
Our witness says Leonard was polite and respectful during the interaction with the manager.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill has suspended the manager involved, according to ABC 6.
The company’s CEO and chairman Brian Nichol released the following statement:
“We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind…I’ve personally reached out to Darius and I’m committed to ensuring the appropriate action is taken once the investigation concludes.”
The Colts released a statement to show support for Leonard:
“Darius’s experience demonstrates the struggle so many Black Americans and people of color face every day. It also demonstrates why we need serious action from our government leaders, law enforcement, businesses, and everyday Americans to end systemic racism and injustice and to continue this important dialogue on how to inspire positive change in our country.”