In the newest case of existing while Black, members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority say a Cleveland-area restaurant manager called police on them Tuesday after a member of their party complained she was going to leave because she was waiting too long for her bill.
The woman who complained was reportedly with the 40 or so Deltas dining together at the Bahama Breeze Restaurant in Orange Village, near Cleveland, and had been waiting about 25 minutes for her bill, Chante Spencer, who was part of the group, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The woman ultimately waited for the bill and paid but police were called because the manager wanted officers to wait as other members of the party, spread out at various tables, paid their bills too, the Plain Dealer reported.
“Police were standing there to make sure everyone paid, which we felt was racial profiling,” Spencer told the news organization.
She made the point that she was speaking for herself as an individual and not for the sorority.
Bahama Breeze is a chain restaurant with a Caribbean theme. It is part of the Darden company, based in Florida, which also owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants.
The company shared an apologetic statement with the Plain Dealer though Rich Jeffers, senior director of communications.
“We clearly felt short of delivering great service and we’ve invited the guests back in order to provide an exceptional Bahama Breeze experience,” he said.
The Orange Village Police Department report on the incident says that “some” members of the sorority threatened to leave without paying and that the manager asked the police to stay until all bills were settled, the Plain Dealer reported.
The manager also said some members of the group caused a “disturbance” and used profanity toward her, according to the police report.
Spencer denied that the allegations that people were threatening not to pay was not true.
The group was meeting to celebrate a sorority member’s book deal and her planned relocation to the West Coast, Spencer said.
“I am hoping that Bahama Breeze looks at this very carefully and alters policies and does some more training,” she told the Plain Dealer. “You cannot make assumptions that people are going to commit a crime based on how they look.”