A Black couple was recently denied service and asked to leave while attempting to dine at a Houston’s restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. The pair feels that they were racially profiled after the manager claimed they smelled like marijuana.
Marcus Mosby has been a police officer for almost 28 years and his wife is a high school principal. Earlier this week, he spoke with local news station FOX 13 and said the incident happened on Poplar Avenue on Saturday (Aug. 20) evening. Mosby says the manager approached his family, stating, “There’s a strong odor of marijuana coming from your party in this area.” He says that he informed the woman of his and his wife’s occupations and assured her they had nothing to do with any drug use. The police officer added that the restaurant manager did not want to hear his side.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, we don’t smoke marijuana. You’re mistaken,’” Mosby told a reporter during an on-camera interview with the outlet. He says the woman responded, “I’ve gotten complaints. People have called and said they smell [marijuana].” He insisted that no other patrons or employees had recently been near them except for her. Mosby told the news station that he and his family refused to leave the restaurant and asked another employee to intervene.
The family was eventually seated and Mosby says the manager became apologetic after no other staff members seemed to detect the presence of marijuana. He asked her, “Why did you just racially profile us?” Mosby claims the woman claimed it “was just a bad mistake.” The outlet reached out to corporate for a statement regarding the incident.
Ralph Price, the general manager at Houston’s, offered a response: “Mr. Mosby dined with us Saturday with his family. When we detect the strong presence of marijuana with arriving guests, we do refuse service as the odor can affect others dining.” Price added, “We made a mistake in attributing the odor to Mr. Mosby’s party and apologized. We were happy to welcome him in and take care of his experience on us on Saturday.” Mosby told the news station, “She singled us out. I feel like we were racially profiled.” He noted that he doesn’t “plan on patronizing [the] establishment anymore.”