Police shed new light on alleged incident at Buffalo Wild Wings

Black customers said they were asked to move to a different table after a regular customer told managers he didn't want to sit near them at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago.
Caption
Black customers said they were asked to move to a different table after a regular customer told managers he didn't want to sit near them at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago.

Credit: Teresa Crawford

Credit: Teresa Crawford

Regular customer was known for making ‘racist jokes and comments in the past’ about black people

A police report has shed new light on an alleged racist incident at a Chicago-area Buffalo Wild Wings last month in which a group of black customers said they were asked to change tables because of the color of their skin.

A report released late Wednesday by the Naperville Police Department reveals the central figure of the episode is a man with a Swastika tattoo, a regular known for making racist comments and sending back food orders not served by white employees.

According to the report, the man and a female acquaintance frequented the restaurant during the last few years to watch their favorite sporting events on TV.

Their names, along with the names of the complainants, were redacted and not identified by police in the report.

»RELATED: Lawyer demands changes at Buffalo Wild Wings amid charges of racism

The incident happened Oct. 26 when a group of 18 customers, most of whom were African American, visited the restaurant for a child’s birthday party. After being seated, the group told police, employees asked them to move to another table because a white customer sitting nearby didn’t want to sit next to black people.

The white couple had been sitting at their table for about two hours when the hostess seated the group of 18 directly behind them, the police report said.

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Marcus Riley of Bolingbrook, Illinois, speaks during a news conference Nov. 5 in Aurora about how he and other families, shown in the background, were asked to move because others didn't want to sit by them at a Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings.

Credit: Paul Valade

Marcus Riley of Bolingbrook, Illinois, speaks during a news conference Nov. 5 in Aurora about how he and other families, shown in the background, were asked to move because others didn't want to sit by them at a Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings.
Caption
Marcus Riley of Bolingbrook, Illinois, speaks during a news conference Nov. 5 in Aurora about how he and other families, shown in the background, were asked to move because others didn't want to sit by them at a Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings.

Credit: Paul Valade

Credit: Paul Valade

The man and woman told investigators they never said anything to the group nor did they ask for the group to be moved from their table. The man's female acquaintance, however, told police she pulled their table a few inches away from the group only to create more room for the servers to move between tables.

The man also told police that Buffalo Wild Wings employees “had heard him make racist jokes and comments in the past” about black people, the report read. As a result, staff members “took it upon themselves" to ask the group to change tables.

Chief Robert Marshall said his department investigated the incident because the restaurant received several threatening phone calls afterward, including one from a person who threatened to burn down the business.

»RELATED: Buffalo Wild Wings fires 2 managers after black diners asked to move seats

Since the episode, the restaurant has fired two employees involved in the incident and banned the man from its restaurants. The restaurant's manager said he was unaware of the previous conduct.

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Attorney Cannon Lambert talks Nov. 5 about some changes he would like to see Buffalo Wild Wings make after a group of customers said they were mistreated.

Credit: Paul Valade

Attorney Cannon Lambert talks Nov. 5 about some changes he would like to see Buffalo Wild Wings make after a group of customers said they were mistreated.
Caption
Attorney Cannon Lambert talks Nov. 5 about some changes he would like to see Buffalo Wild Wings make after a group of customers said they were mistreated.

Credit: Paul Valade

Credit: Paul Valade

Attorney Cannon Lambert, who represents the black customers, said in a news conference last week that a lawsuit could be avoided if Buffalo Wild Wings changes its policies on hiring and training employees.

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Lyle Tick, the president of Buffalo Wild Wings, also met last week with Naperville officials to discuss the matter and said the chain would begin conducting sensitivity training for its employees.

Naperville police have not filed any charges in the case.