Matthew Fezzey, a white manager at the Poke Poke restaurant in Chicago, has been fired after he admitted to throwing a chair at an unsuspecting Black customer for no reason at all! Fezzey claims he only did that because of his previous encounters with Black men.
The incident happened on January 2nd when a few friends waved at Johnson, an 18-year old high school senior, and motioned him to come inside the restaurant. As he stepped inside, 32-year old Fezzey suddenly confronted him and yelled at him.
“I’ll kick your a–,” Fezzey yelled, according to Johnson. “This is my place of business.”
After that, Fezzey reportedly threw a chair at him, striking his arm. That’s when Johnson called the police and started recording a video.
In the video, which he posted on Facebook and has since garnered over 30,000 views, Fezzey did not deny throwing a chair but he was trying to justify his actions by telling Johnson that it was his “first instinct” after recent robberies and incidents involving black men.
“This is the second time in a row, third time in a row… Two days ago — not trying to be racist — two Black guys robbed two people right here,” Fezzey could be heard explaining on the video, using numerous expletives.
“But sir, you threw a chair at me,” Johnson replied. “I’m not those guys.”
“Listen, three days ago, before that, I had two more Black guys, I actually fought ’em in here,” Fezzey continued on the video. “They tried threatening one of my employees and I had to fight them. When you guys came in here, I just got really f—— defensive, really defensive, because I had to fight them off all the time. These security guards over here don’t do a f—— thing.”
However, when the police arrived, Fezzey changed his story and claimed that Johnson entered the restaurant, starting an argument and clenching his fists. He said he thought the teen would attack him that’s why he threw a chair at him.
In the most recent statement released by Poke Poke restaurant, they apologized to Johnson and confirmed that Fezzey has been terminated “after completing an internal investigation.”
“We believe in treating everyone with respect and compassion, and his actions were against our principles and values. We will also be providing our staff with management and sensitivity training on customer interaction and conflict de-escalation, so an event like this does not happen again. Poke Poke is a small family-owned business, and we welcome everyone to our store.” the statement added in part.
Meanwhile, Johnson had to be taken to the ER due to an arm injury and receive X-rays after the attack. He has also been traumatized because of the situation that “makes you feel like you can’t do anything.”
“He was screaming at me, saying he was gonna call the cops… I was thinking, ‘Why would you call the cops on me when I didn’t do anything wrong?’” Johnson told the Chicago Tribune. “When the police get here, am I going to be held accountable for something I didn’t do?”
Johnson believes he was racially profiled. No charges have been filed but according to Johnson’s attorney, Anish Parikh, the teen plans to take legal action.