A racial divide seems to still exist in this country despite many advances. Earlier this year, two black men were wrongfully arrested at a Starbucks, which resulted in store-wide changes. Now, the media reports this week that a homeless black man was arrested and wrongfully jailed for an act he didn’t commit.
In 2015, Emory Ellis, a homeless man in Boston, scrounged up a $10 bill one morning and headed to a nearby Burger King. Instead of receiving breakfast, Ellis was hauled away in handcuffs by officers after the cashier at the register claimed Ellis tried to use counterfeit money to pay.
According to NBC News, Ellis has now obtained a lawyer and is suing the fast food chain for $1 million as he claimed he was treated this way because of how he was dressed and the color of his skin.
“A person like me would’ve gotten an apology, but a person like Emory somehow finds his way in handcuffs for trying to pay for his breakfast with real money,” said Justin Drechsler who is Ellis’ lawyer.
Drechsler added that if his client was a white man in a suit there would have been no accusation. In turn, Ellis was charged with forgery of a bank note, which caused him to go to jail for a probation violation.
He spent the next three months behind bars on a probation violation, even though it was eventually determined that the bills were not counterfeit. Ellis never received an apology from those involved either.
“Nobody deserves to be treated the way that Emory was treated,” Drechsler said.
A Burger King spokesperson told NBC News that it doesn’t allow disrimination “of any kind” but would not comment on the case further. Since the Burger King Ellis went to was a franchise location, the spokesperson explained that all the employees there had received training from the franchisee.