The women say they were the only black customers in the restaurant and asked to leave to make space for other customers.
A group of black women say they were asked to leave a popular Grosse Pointe Farms sushi restaurant Saturday night to make room for other customers, saying it was racial discrimination.
TaNisha Prater recorded a 15-minute Facebook Live video, posted above, at Blufin Sushi beginning with her and her party of three leaving the restaurant and ending with speaking to a police officer about the incident. In the video, Prater says she and her friends were seated at the bar when a general manager asked them to leave, even though they had not finished drinking.
Prater says she and her friends were the only black customers in the bar.
“We looked around and said ‘wait a minute, we are the only black people in this establishment. Why is she asking for us to get up?’ She did not ask anybody else in the establishment,” she says.
In the video, Prater says she asked for the owner’s contact information, in which the general manager responded that she was the owner of the bar and that her family owned the bar. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs documents, as well as several news reports, indicate Joel Radu is the sushi bar’s owner.
Later in the video and now outside the bar, Prater says the general manager calls the police and alleges that they are drunk. “She tells the Grosse Pointe police that we’re drunk. I’m not drunk. We had sushi, we had sliders, I had one drink,” Prater says.
The second half of the video shows a Grosse Pointe Farms officer talking with the women and asking for their version of events before ending. Identification was requested from the three women, but in a later Instagram post, Prater says the police did not ask for the ID of the general manager. Frequently throughout the video – and in Prater’s Instgram post – the general manager is named as Katherine Fiscelli.
Take a good look at this card…Katherine Fiscelli is the General Manager at @blufinsushi in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI on Mack Ave. My friends and I were at the bar patronizing the restaurant when the general manager approached one of my friend's requesting that we get up from the bar to allow others to be seated. She did not ask anyone else to leave. We were the only black people in the bar. When we called her out on it she told us that we were free to leave. When we asked for the owner's contact information she refused to give it to us, when I asked for her card from another waiter she tried to snatch her card out of my hand, when I refused to leave, STOOD my ground and started recording the events she called the police and lied and told the operator that there were drunk disgruntled women refusing to leave. When the police arrived they only asked for us to present our IDs. The officer did not require Katherine to present hers…we were discriminated against and our rights were violated. I am devastated to say the least! Shame on you @blufinsushi shame on you Katherine and shame on you officer.
The officer is heard saying that the restaurant mistakenly asked the women to leave because staff members thought they were done, much to the women’s disbelief.
“But she didn’t admit that mistake to us. She actually told us we were free to leave,” Prater says.
Prater and her husband, Christopher Prater, are co-owners of Thrift on the Ave, a vintage clothing store in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood. The couple was featured in BLAC’s April 2015 “Power Couples” issue.
The Grosse Pointe suburbs have long had a fraught history of racist and discriminatory practices, highlighted by notable events in recent years. Last year, students at Grosse Pointe South High School twice circulated imagery offensive to blacks – one, a photo of white students with the word “nigger” written across their stomachs, and another of a video with students imagining a world where slavery still existed.
In 2014, Portia Roberson, the City of Detroit’s civil rights attorney, was searched at the Talbots clothing store in Grosse Pointe after falsely being accused of shoplifting, leading to an apology from the company’s national headquarters. A year earlier, video surfaced of a Grosse Pointe Park police officer taunting and humiliating a black man.