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A Burger King worker thought a black man’s $10 bill was fake. He was arrested. Now he’s suing.

A Burger King worker thought a black man’s $10 bill was fake. He was arrested. Now he’s suing.

Postby smix » Sat May 19, 2018 2:13 pm

A Burger King worker thought a black man’s $10 bill was fake. He was arrested. Now he’s suing.
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/bus ... hes-suing/
Category: Police
Published: May 17, 2018

Description: Emory Ellis, who lived on the streets in Boston, ventured into a Burger King in November 2015 to buy breakfast. He left the restaurant under arrest, wrongfully accused of trying to pay for his meal with a fake $10 bill. He spent more than three months in jail. This week, Ellis, 37, sued Burger King and the store franchisee for nearly $1 million, saying he was discriminated against for being black and homeless. The lawsuit comes amid a resurgence in a national debate about the treatment of black people in businesses and public spaces. From the two men who left a Philadelphia Starbucks in handcuffs, to five women reported to the police for golfing too slowly, to the graduate student who fell asleep in her dorm’s common room, the stories have refocused public attention on the risks and daily struggles of simply living while black. “I know that had I walked into the Burger King with the exact same $10 bill, nobody would have scrutinized it,” said Ellis’s attorney, Justin Drechsler. “I never would have been accused of anything. I certainly wouldn’t have had the police called on me, no matter what the series of events.” Drechsler said he is the same age, to the day, as Ellis — but Drechsler is white. Given his appearance alone, Drechsler said he believes that had the Burger King employee doubted whether his cash was authentic, the employee would have politely asked whether Drechsler could pay with something else. “That’s not what happened here,” Drechsler said. He said Ellis could not comment for this article because of ongoing litigation. The lawsuit, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, said the Burger King cashier refused to return Ellis’s money and threatened to call the police if Ellis didn’t leave the restaurant. The cashier, who is named in the lawsuit, “was plainly discriminating against Mr. Ellis based on Mr. Ellis’s appearance,” according to court documents. The cashier had not returned the money to Ellis when he called the police. Ellis was arrested and charged with forgery of a bank note. The arrest spurred a probation violation, and Ellis was held without bail until his final probation violation hearing, the lawsuit said. Ellis’s lawsuit was reported by Law360 and the Associated Press. Ellis is suing in Suffolk Superior Court for $950,000. The lawsuit says that not only did Ellis lose three months of his life to incarceration, but he also suffered substantial emotional distress, public humiliation and shame. He suffered from “sleeplessness, anxiety and depression associated with defending himself against this baseless charge that exposed him to a potential criminal sanction of life in prison,” according to court documents. Ellis was held until February 2016 after the Secret Service determined the $10 bill was real, according to the lawsuit. His money was never returned. A Burger King spokesperson told The Post that the company doesn’t tolerate discrimination “of any kind” but could not comment on ongoing legal matters. The company told the AP that franchisees are responsible for training employees and handling legal issues. Two Guys Foods, the franchisee named in the lawsuit, could not be reached by The Post on Thursday. Drechsler said Ellis’s story is “important for the ongoing national conversation that we are having about the different life experiences of individuals of different races in this country, and particularly the people of color in this country.” “It’s important that these types of situations see the light of day,” he said.
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Suit: Homeless man jailed after trying to eat at Burger King

Postby smix » Sat May 19, 2018 2:16 pm

Suit: Homeless man jailed after trying to eat at Burger King
AP

URL: https://apnews.com/93208b6035914d0e80e347c5f5530169
Category: Police
Published: May 17, 2018

Description: BOSTON (AP) — Emory Ellis, a black homeless man in Boston, was hungry so he went to Burger King one morning in 2015. But instead of breakfast, Ellis got a ride to the police station and more than three months in jail after he was wrongfully accused of using counterfeit cash, he says. Now Ellis is suing the fast food giant and franchisee for nearly $1 million, saying he was discriminated against because of his appearance. The lawsuit comes on the heels of recent cases of police being called on black people that have sparked uproar and claims of racial profiling. Ellis’ attorney said the cashier likely wouldn’t have questioned if the money was real if a white man in a suit handed him the same bill. Even if he did, the cashier probably would have apologized and said he couldn’t accept the cash instead of calling police, attorney Justin Drechsler said. “A person like me would’ve gotten an apology, but a person like Emory somehow finds his way in handcuffs for trying to pay for his breakfast with real money,” said Drechsler, who’s white. A Burger King Corp. spokesperson said the company does not tolerate discrimination “of any kind,” but cannot comment on the specifics of the case. The company said the franchisee is responsible for employee training and handling legal matters about the location. Two Guys Foods, Inc., the franchisee, didn’t immediately return a phone message on Wednesday. A number for the cashier, who’s also named in the complaint, couldn’t be found in public records and it wasn’t immediately clear if he has a lawyer. Ellis’ lawsuit, which was first reported by digital legal news service Law360, was filed this week in Suffolk Superior Court. He’s seeking $950,000. Ellis was arrested in November 2015 and charged with forgery of a bank note. His arrest triggered a probation violation and he was held without bail until his final probation violation hearing, according to the lawsuit. He wasn’t released from jail until February 2016, when prosecutors dropped the forgery charge after the Secret Service concluded Ellis’ bill was real, the lawsuit says. Ellis, 37, never got his money back, the lawsuit says. “Nobody deserves to be treated the way that Emory was treated,” Drechsler said. The lawsuit comes weeks after the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks and other cases that have shined a spotlight on minorities’ interactions with law enforcement. Starbucks says its employees will receive racial-bias training after an employee called police on the black men because they hadn’t bought anything. And at Yale University earlier this month, a white student called campus police about a black graduate student who had fallen asleep while working on a paper.
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