The rapper T.I., also known as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., is calling for a boycott against Houston’s restaurant after three Atlanta women were allegedly assaulted in the restroom by an off-duty police officer.
The incident happened May 13 at an Atlanta location near closing time when the women reportedly came in to use the restroom, according to local station WXIA TV.
According to the police report, Officer Jose Guzman was working on the side as a security guard at the restaurant. The shift manager had asked him to escort three women out of the restroom because the business was closed and they had already been asked twice to leave.
Guzman went into the restaurant where he saw three women, identified as Brittany Marie Lucio, Asia’h Sharrell Epperson and Erica Walker, on their phones. He reportedly asked the women to leave three times, but they either ignored his request or just laughed, according to the station.
Guzman told police he asked an employee to open the restaurant’s back door and then grabbed Lucio’s wrist and said, “Let’s go.”
Walker left the restaurant, but Lucio allegedly told Guzman not to touch her and refused to leave, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Guzman said Lucio allegedly punched him in the head. Epperson filmed him holding Lucio and Walker to the ground while more police arrived.
The three women were arrested and all charged with criminal trespass. Lucio was also charged with felony obstruction, according to Vibe.
Gerald Griggs, the attorney representing the women, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his clients were given permission to use the restroom and that they were in the process of leaving when the officer escalated the situation.
He also said Lucio and Walker had markings on their bodies from being attacked by the officer.
Griggs is asking the district attorney and solicitor to dismiss charges and wants the officer to be placed on unpaid leave while the police department investigates the situation.
Epperson told WSB-TV that the police report about the incident is “false and exaggerated.”
She gave the following statement to the station:
It was not after hours. The restaurant was open. It was full of people. We asked if we could use the restroom and we were given permission to do so. We were in the restroom maybe 7-8minutes. Actually Using the restroom, and On the phone with the Uber driver trying to give directions to where we were! Period. We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were never asked multiple times to leave. That is a lie. We are moving forward very rapidly with this matter things will be handled legally!
The incident struck a chord with T.I., who had organized a boycott of Houston’s last year after another Atlanta location threw out a group of black female customers, according to TMZ. He had met with the restaurant’s ownership in an attempt to improve relations and stopped his call for a ban as a result.
The rapper posted a series of videos to Instagram Tuesday to bring attention to the alleged assault.
On Monday, he was calling for another boycott: “We done tried to do it the Martin Luther way. It’s time for Malcolm X!”
“We’re going to cause for the entire chain to be shut down. We’re not gonna have it,” he told TMZ.