Police are investigating an incident at a Pennsylvania restaurant after a black college student said he was called the n-word and kicked out by a staff member, who, the student alleged, said he could say what he likes now Donald Trump is president.
Employees, however, told police that the student and others were "unhappy with their order, and caused a disturbance and left," officers said, noting they were investigating the alleged racial slurs.
Ricky Bugg, who plays basketball at Lebanon Valley College, told BuzzFeed News he entered Just Wing It, a popular college bar in Annville with his friend, who is white, to place an order at the counter around 1:30 a.m on Jan. 22.
“The lady we first ordered from was cool, no problems or anything,” Bugg, 21, said.
Shortly after, he said he saw a man emerge from the back of the restaurant holding a stack of money.
Bugg said the man told them, “I own three other restaurants. I don’t need you niggers here. You can go somewhere else.”
Bugg said that he has gone to Just Wing It roughly two times a week for the past three years, but had never seen the man who made the comments before that night.
The cashier refunded Bugg and his friend their money and they were given no food. he said.
As the two made their way out, Bugg said the man started to walk towards him, staring.
“I called him a bitch,” Bugg said, adding that his friend "also said some heat-of-the-moment stuff.”
As they continued to exchange words, Bugg said he flipped a few chairs over and continued to exit the restaurant. He heard the man say, “Yeah, get out, nigger.”
Then Bugg said he heard the man add, “Trump’s president now. I can say what I want.”
Annville police told BuzzFeed News they were investigating the incident, but could not confirm that the employee specifically invoked Trump in the exchange.
Bugg said he turned and began walking back towards the man, but his friend and some other college students at the bar intervened and held him back.
Bugg said he went to a college house to ask his other friends to return to Just Wing It with him to demand an apology. When they arrived, they realized that the restaurant manager had called the police.
“We told them what happened, and police said they can’t do anything right now. But they’re going to check surveillance and audio,” Bugg said.
Bugg’s sister Destiny posted about the incident on Facebook on Sunday. It has been shared more than 2,700 times.
In a press conference held Tuesday, Police Chief Bernard Dugan said that officers responded to a call received at 1:53 a.m. Sunday about a disturbance at Just Wing It.
Dugan said that Just Wing It employees told the police that two customers — a white and black male — had been seated at the bar, “were unhappy with their order, and caused a disturbance and left.”
The police chief added that when officers arrived, they spoke to Bugg.
“The black male, Ricky Buggs, did speak to the officers and say that while he was seated at the bar, a male employee came out of the kitchen and directed a racial slur at him,” Dugan said.
The case is under investigation, he added, “to determine if the actions of any of the parties rise to an violation of criminal law.”
After the press conference, police posted this message to Facebook:
We just finished a press conference with local media regarding a reported disturbance at a local restaurant involving the use of a racial slur. This story is reported in social media and on the internet and reaching a larger audience. Some have made the argument that the mere occurrence of this alleged incident may reflect badly on the Township government, its elected or appointed officials, or the community at large—none of whom were involved in this—strikes us as illogical, and painting with too broad a brush. We ask for everyone’s patience while we conduct the investigation to determine if actions by any of the parties rises to the level of violation of criminal law.
Calls to the restaurant on Wednesday went unanswered and their Facebook page appeared to have been removed. A message sent from BuzzFeed News via Yelp was not immediately returned.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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