President of Delta Sigma Theta Pens Letter After Racial Profiling Incident

Manager of Bahama Breeze fired after police to make sure Black sorority members pay

Beverly Smith

Crusader staff report

The president and CEO of Delta Sigma Theta sorority has posted a letter on the organization’s website, condemning a racial profiling incident that occurred at the Bahama Breeze restaurant in Cleveland on June 19.

The manager was fired after public outrage erupted when police were called on 40 Black women who were dining at the restaurant. A majority of the guests that were targeted are members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization.

Police were called to the Bahama Breeze in Orange Village after the manager believed that the women were not going to pay their bill despite one Black patron waiting 25 minutes for her check. The police stayed at the restaurant to make sure 39 of the Black women paid their bill before they left.

According to the police report provided by Orange Village, the manager informed police that some members of the sorority threatened to leave without paying, and the manager requested the police stay until the bills were paid because members of the group caused a “disturbance” and used profanity toward the manager.

The incident led the Black women to protest in front of Bahama Breeze, which paid a $1.2 million settlement with the EEOC for racially harassing 37 Black employees at the same location in 2009.

Bahama Breeze’s Twitter page was flooded with angry tweets from the women and other patrons since the incident occurred. In response Bahama Breeze retweeted, “We are concerned to hear about what transpired. We are taking this very seriously and are currently looking into this.”

Bahama Breeze is part of a Florida-based Darden Restaurants, the parent umbrella that also owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse.

Beverly E. Smith, National President and CEO posted a letter on Delta Sigma Theta’s website condemning the incident at Bahama Breeze.

“We remain strongly opposed to discrimination in any form. Whether it is our sorors or members of our local communities, Delta stands ready to take action. We stand with each and every one of you in Cleveland, and nationwide, as we continue to confront these issues and demand action from corporations like Bahama Breeze.

We have reached out to the executive leadership of the Darden Corporation (parent company) to schedule a meeting and discussion in hopes of ensuring that this kind of discrimination doesn’t happen to other people of color. Additionally, the practice of commercial businesses calling the police for minor disagreements involving people of color must end. This is a message we must deliver loud and clear.”

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