In the latest incident where authorities were called on Black people for doing ordinary things, a Black family was suspected of plotting a burglary while eating sandwiches.
During a drive back home to North Carolina on Monday from attending their grandmother’s birthday party in South Georgia, Felicia and Othniel Dobson decided to stop at a Subway restaurant with their children. As they were eating dinner, a store employee called 911 because their frequent trips to the restroom made her nervous.
The family of seven, with children ages 8, 12, 13 and 19 along with the children’s aunt, were at the Subway on Newnan Crossing Blvd. in Coweta County, Ga., for about an hour when a white employee, who was not named, made the call to police saying she thought she was going to be robbed.
“I need somebody to come through here please, ASAP. Now,” the employee said during the call, obtained by WSB-TV. “There’s about eight people in a van, and they’ve been in the store for about an hour. They keep going back and forth to the bathrooms by my back door.”
She also accused the family of putting soda in water cups.
The Dobsons said it was a clear case of racism.
“I don’t think she ever felt threatened,” Felicia Dobson told the news channel. “We can’t change our skin color. I have great kids. I have a great family.”
The population of Newnan is approximately 62.3 percent white, 29.6 percent Black, 11.7 percent Latino and 3.2 percent Asian, according to the U.S. Census. The median household income is $51,693 per year.
When a Newnan police officer arrived at the restaurant, he told them the employee had said she was robbed before and was suspicious that the family would do the same, the Dobsons said. They also said the officer apologized.
In May, Subway, based in Milford, Conn., announced that CEO Suzanne Greco would be retiring. Greco had been CEO since 2015 and started working at the company in 1973. Trevor Haynes, chief business officer, was appointed interim CEO during the transition.
According to Business Insider, “Subway is in crisis” as national sales and traffic figures dropped in 2017.
“Subway struggles to attract customers as a compelling healthy option — especially after scandals surrounding the chain’s former spokesman Jared Fogle.”
The company has more than 21,000 franchisees around the world. Subway franchisee Rosh Patel, who owns the shop in Newnan, called the Dobsons on Tuesday to apologize, Felicia Dobson said. The employee was placed on administrative leave, she said she was told.
“I take this very seriously, and I am fully investigating,” Patel told WSB-TV. “I have also used this opportunity to reiterate to my staff the importance of making everyone feel welcome.”