New surveillance video has emerged of an incident at a Denny’s restaurant in which a black couple was told to prepay for their meal (video below).
The incident occurred at a Los Angeles Denny’s in May 2014, court records show. Rene Herbert and Henry Williams were asked to pay for their meal before getting their food. The waitress and manager were reportedly concerned the couple might “dine and dash,” meaning leave without paying for their food.
The manager of the Denny’s location, Ali Rahman, repeatedly admitted to asking the couple to prepay for their meal. He acknowledged that requests for prepayment are prohibited under anti-discrimination policies. In his court testimony, Rahman blamed his actions on a lapse in judgment.
Williams and Herbert filed a discrimination lawsuit against the restaurant in August 2014 and went to trial on Feb. 1. The couple says Rahman didn’t ask any other customers in the restaurant to prepay for their meals. They believe their targeting was racially motivated.
In newly released surveillance video from the couple’s visit to the restaurant in May 2014, Herbert and Williams can be seen paying Rahman after he sat down at their table and asked for prepayment.
Bradley Sax witnessed the interaction between the couple and the restaurant manager and said he believes the incident was racially motivated, reports KNSD.
“I thought it was appalling for someone in that year and time to be discriminated against like that,” Sax testified in court.
Sax added that he saw a similar demand of prepayment made of another black customer at the same Denny’s restaurant several weeks after the incident involving Herbert and Williams.
Denny’s has a history of racial discrimination. In 1994, the company agreed to pay $54 million in racial-discrimination lawsuits filed by black customers, reports The New York Times.