Decatur Police respond to calls about protests during Sunday brunch

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 23, 2015
Photo of BlackBrunchATL protests obtained via Twitter.

Photo of BlackBrunchATL protests obtained via Twitter.

Activists protesting recent shootings of black suspects by police officers decided on Sunday to storm local restaurants to air their grievances during brunch.

The business owners responded by calling the police.

Protesters entered Sweet Melissa’s, Leon’s, Cafe 246 and Victory Sandwich. As patrons looked on, some filming, some baffled, managers tried to hustle the protesters out of the door.

The protesters documented their exploits via social media, and chided people who were annoyed by their strategy.

“Sweet Melissa’s did not enjoy . Lots of hateful words,” one protester wrote on Twitter. Another accused one of the restaurants of routinely mistreating black patrons.

None of the shootings cited by protesters occurred in the city of Decatur or involved Decatur Police officers.

Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett told Decaturish that the city welcomes protests, but said protesters do not have the right to enter private businesses, uninvited, and create a disruption.

“Our police officers have responded appropriately and professionally by instructing protesters that they cannot protest on private property without permission from the owner. Further, that they can protest on public sidewalks as long as they do not obstruct others from using the sidewalks. If  they want to have a parade they would need to secure a permit,” Baskett said. “In the future we would hope that if these individuals are interested in making a statement to DeKalb County that they would choose a venue more closely associated with the county.”

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  • atowner

    3 people were recently murdered through random crime the city of Atlanta in highly publicized cases. While citizens are rallying for more police presence these kids are interrupting brunch to read a list of names that have nothing to do with Atlanta or Decaturs leadership. Atlanta has been under black leadership since 1974. Our mayor is black, our police chief is black, only 4 of our 16 city council reps are white and our state reps are black. This is an exercise in ego for the protestors and nothing more. Atlanta is a city of intersectonality where all lives matter. Tacky is the word I think of watching this. How bizarrely irrelevant to our city’s policies.

    • Eric Strunz

      You’re right that the deaths of Kevin Davis and Anthony Hill don’t directly involve the City of Decatur. However, as the seat of Dekalb County, Decatur is the most relevant forum for protest. In fact, thanks to the leadership of Jim Baskett and Decatur PD Chief Mike Brooker, downtown Decatur probably represents one of the safest, most reasonable places to voice a civic opinion. But like Mayor Baskett said, it seems wise to hold protests in venues more closely linked with the county.

      • underscorex

        Didn’t Kevin Davis work in Decatur? As an employee of a beloved Decatur institution, I figure that qualifies him as Decatur-Related.

        But then again, I have a much higher support for these kinds of public demonstrations than most, it would seem.

        • atlfc

          I’m with you but we’re talking about Decatur here. Its the home of white privilege. Pretty sure its against city ordinance to disrupt their brunch.

          • Bill Jones

            So is the protest against white people or police brutality? Did the victims enter into it at all? Looks like with all the social media it was an effort to be ugly to invoke a response so that the racial agitators could confirm their hateful worldview.
            Why not protest at DeKalb police headquarters or to DeKalb government? These men were shot by cops, not by brunchgoers. Because it was about being hateful to white people who had nothing to do with the deaths of these men. That was the point of the protests. Use racial profiling to combat racial profiling I guess. How sad.

          • atlfc

            You need to go read the Nicholas Kristof series on white privilege in the NYT. It was written for people just like you.

          • Susan

            Those protesting don’t care about the names they’re reading. My bet is that they’re being paid for doing this. That’s what it looks like. I believe that you’re wasting your time believing these people are going to think logically. Low IQ peeps like these protestors aren’t capable of logic and common sense.

        • Susan

          Problem is, they’re on PRIVATE property. Their rights end where someone else’s begin. Encourage them to demonstrate on public property if you support this.

          • underscorex

            Nah. That’s the same attitude people had towards the Woolworths’ Sit Ins.

  • underscorex

    I wouldve bought them drinks, I swear to god.

    • Susan

      I would’ve laughed.

  • An American Patriot

    Folks, this is the beginnings of a grass roots movement to create chaos, anarchy, disruptions and riots all over America. Some folk think the only way to effectuate change is to demonstrate and riot, thus causing great inconvenience to a lot of good, hard working people. This is the Saul Alinsky way, learned by bhusseino with Alinsky as his mentor. The further along we get to November, 2016, the worse it’s going to be unless we do something to “Nip it in the bud” We can’t stop people from demonstrating; however, we can stop it from getting out of control and by requiring a permit . We need strong leadership to keep this out of Decatur.

    • Pastor John

      “Strong leadership” is what has created the reign of terror that is here in our homeland and experienced by the poor and minorities every single day. If you were made uncomfortable, you may just be too comfortable. In this Land of Liberty, this sort of non-violent protest is the highest form of patriotism.

      I am so encouraged by the actions of these young people and I remind them what Ghandi said in explaining how non-violent protest works:

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you . . .

      . . . then you win.”

      • Marty

        No sir Pastor John, stated and organized racial profiling of individuals sitting in a restaurant to make them feel uncomfortable is no more acceptable than alleged and organized racial profiling of an individual walking down the street who is made to feel uncomfortable.

    • Jeff G

      The demonstrations were misguided and ineffective. (In fact probably counterproductive since they likely alienated some potential sympathizers.) However, your Alinsky and “bhusseino” comment is idiotic. Alinsky died when Obama was 10 years old, so I doubt there was much mentoring going on. Can you cite an example in which President Obama has engaged in, organized, or encouraged this type of disruption? No. Take that nonsense elsewhere.

  • Graybeard

    Why protest in hyper-liberal enclaves? Yea, Decatur is white and privileged, but they’re also probably aware of the issues these protests are eliciting. Why not roll up to Cumming, Johns Creek, Ringgold? You know, places where privilege is just as real but their allegiances not as sympathetic. Protesting at places like Decatur is preaching to the choir at best and alienating at worst.

    • Susan

      I think you may be pretending that these low IQ peeps are capable of using logic to plan their assaults. That’s not realistic….logic and common sense do not reside in those brains.

  • ThatsWhatWePayThemFor

    And of all the cases like this. It seems like Anthony Hill deserves justice. Mike Brown… uh.. sorry.. no. Attacking a cop in his cruiser will totally get you shot.

    But how do you just shoot a *naked* guy…he obviously isn’t hiding a gun… or anything else.

    But #BlackBrunch, too bad you screwed up your Decatur community support with this misguided harassment of people who are just making an honest living and enjoying their brunch..

    Next time some activist clowns get this idea… Lock them all up.
    And some advice.. don’t fight the police.
    or they will be marching for you…

    And I will totally support that by going to brunch.

  • Greg Myrberg

    Had a chance to speak with the folks at Sweet Melissa’s yesterday (the only customers were myself and two black women). In my search, I haven’t found any representation of the restaurants’ viewpoints. From my perspective, this protest was wrongly directed. First, who had the right to determine what a “white restaurant” is? That sort of labeling seems to be at the root of the very problem that the protesters are concerned about. Lots of restaurants in downtown Decatur, at a glance, don’t seem any different than the ones targeted (did the protesters check to see what the composition of the staff was and how it might affect them?).

    Second, while I heavily support heightened concern about the issues addressed, there were certainly viable and powerful alternatives to the methods chosen. It is my understanding that the protesters refused to engage in any dialog so no education was possible. As a strong defender of free speech, I well understand that it does not mean “say anything, anywhere.” This was private property so there was no “right” to be there and calling the police was not an exceptional act. There are many public areas in the Square that would’ve have had the equivalent effect without the intrusion. I suppose the protesters would claim that “any means, given the acts would be justified.” Slippery slope there. Malcolm X’s (from Sartre) well-known quote “By any means necessary” suggested to some an endorsement of violence, but X would have claimed that violence wasn’t the first choice. This protest clearly should have directed at the police and/or government, which would have avoided the selectivity problems.

    I was disappointed by the responses of the customers. “You’re stirring up controversy” and “My breakfast matters” show stupidity knows no color. Had I been there, I think I might shouted things like “Why won’t you engage in dialog?”, “Why aren’t you at every restaurant?” and “Why aren’t you directing this at people who are more likely to be agents of change?”.

    Yesterday, I saw a man with a sign (sponsored by SCLC) that read “Black Lives Matter” standing on a corner near the courthouse, Decatur City Hall, and the Maloof Center. For me, that dedication had more effect than any protest rendered Sunday.

  • Greg Myrberg

    Simplistic. By your logic, I could blow up a building with people inside in the name of some cause and I would’ve enacted an effective protest. You completely forgot to think about counter-productivity and legality.

  • OakhurstRez

    Wow, the audacity of these blowhards. Let me try to follow the logic that they present. Lets make white privileged people eating brunch at private establishments on private property feel uncomfortable so that maybe they will feel guilty about being white and show support for their cause. And then when they are asked to leave by the owners of said eateries because they are trespassing and disrupting the patrons, they get indignant and use social media to make them all look like unsympathetic fools, framing the narrative as if they just stepped in a bar in 1962 Selma Alabama.

    Hey listen up you whiny asshats, its not making me uncomfortable, its pissing me off that your ruining my day forcing me to listen to your liberal diatribe. If your so concerned about profiling, how do you so easily pick Decatur as your target of ‘White Privilege’. Yes, I am white and live in a nice home, in a nice community but I have worked my whole life to get it, all on my own. You can’t force people to listen to your crap. What hypocrites.

    I weep for the future of this nation if these are the people set to run it.

    • Susan

      Oakhurst, these low-rent people aren’t capable of using logic—low IQ.

  • Tony

    Well, DeKalb County Police headquarters is over in Tucker. But it’s not nearly as relaxed or as much fun to protest there as it is to protest white people eating brunch in Decatur. These geniuses might as well picket migrant workers outside a Home Depot to Save the Whales.

  • Susan

    This is what low IQ people do. Typical behavior.

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