Black restaurant owner says he was arrested for trying to help white patron
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A black New York City restaurant owner alleges in a new lawsuit that he and two employees were arrested after he was assaulted by several white women in his business who shouted racial slurs.

Clyde Pemberton told The New York Times that police officers did not listen to his or his employees' version of the incident, adding that he was arrested after an interview with just one of the three women involved.


Pemberton said he and his employees confronted two women who appeared to be removing a third, inebriated women from the establishment when one of the women shouted a racial slur and attacked him. The attack occurred, Pemberton says, after he noticed the inebriated woman seemed ill and offered the three women a chair for her.

One officer who responded to the scene, Pemberton said, lied in his police report and claimed that Pemberton and his employees told the officers they were preventing the women from leaving.

The charges against him, including wrongful imprisonment, were dismissed last year. Now Pemberton is suing the New York Police Department, alleging that racial bias led to his arrest and the treatment he and his workers received.

“The NYPD arrested Dr. Pemberton, Mr. Baptiste, and Mr. Debnam not because of their conduct, but because they were there and they are black. Neither their side of the story nor their freedom mattered to the police," reads a court document obtained by the Times.

One of the women, who was not named, was charged with assault and other offenses, according to the lawsuit.

Despite the charges being dropped against him, Pemberton says he still faces trouble from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) when he attempts to travel to his home country, Trinidad and Tobago, even though he is a legal resident of the U.S.

Elizabeth Saylor, an attorney representing Pemberton and his employees, said that one arrest last year had spiraled into months of problems for the men.

“You don’t just arrest everybody on the scene and sort it out later,” Saylor told the Times. “They are privileged black men who have money and the resources to fight this, but despite that it deeply affected them.”