A restaurant in Chicago has suspended a manager after he threw a chair at a black teenager, telling the teenager he wasn’t “trying to be racist” in what people are calling a gross case of racial profiling.
John ‘Kyle’ Johnson, 18, entered Poke Poke restaurant in South Wabash Avenue on 2 January after a few friends already inside had waved at him.
However, as soon as the teenager entered the restaurant the manager, Matthew Fezzey, turned on him. According to The Washington Post, he told Johnson:
I’ll kick your ass. This is my place of business.
Johnson said Fezzey swung a chair at him, striking his arm. It was at this point Fezzey called the police and began recording.
In the footage Fezzey can be heard apologising numerously over the incident, insisting that he wasn’t’ “racist.”
I’m f**king in the wrong.
This is the second time in a row, third time in a row … Two days ago — not trying to be racist — two black guys robbed two people right here.
Fezzy attempted to defend his actions by sharing two incidents with black men who had tried to “rob” the store. In response, Johnson told him he wasn’t any of those guys.
“But sir, you threw a chair at me,” Johnson replied. “I’m not those guys.”
Two days ago — and I’m not trying to be racist — two black guys robbed two people right here
Listen, three days ago, before that, I had two more black guys, I actually fought ‘em in here.
They tried threatening one of my employees and I had to fight them. When you guys came in here, I just got really f**king defensive, really defensive, because I had to fight them off all the time. These security guards over here don’t do a f**king thing.
Again, I’m way in the wrong.
I feel bad but that was just my first instinct because I’ve had to deal with fights here, which I shouldn’t. And I legit thought we were headed to fight.
In the video, Fezzey does not deny allegations that he hit Johnson with a chair and acknowledges repeatedly he was “in the wrong.”
In response, Poke Poke suspended the manager pending a police investigation and released a statement condemning racial profiling of any kind.
We want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind. Diversity, inclusion and compassion and principles we care deeply about, and those values embody who we are as a Chicago-bred, minority-owned and operated establishment.
How our manager reacted to the situation was absolutely unacceptable and against what we stand for.
Racism has no place in today’s society, and no one should ever be judged by the colour of their skin.
There are no excuses for what happened to Kyle and for that we apologise.
Police in Chicago confirmed Johnson told responding officers that the 32-year-old manager hit him with a plastic chair after a verbal dispute, New York Post confirms.
Fezzey claimed Johnson entered the restaurant with clenched fists and it made him believe he was going to get assaulted.
No charges have been filed but Johnson’s attorney told Washington Post that his client plans to take legal action.