Ibrahim Mission was providing security at a meeting of community and social justice leaders in Detroit last week when Robert Stanzler, owner of Detroit Mercantile Co., approached him because some participants were parking on his property. Stanzler wanted Mission to stop them and then disgustingly disrespected the security guard.
The Eastern venue in the Eastern Market, where the meeting took place on Tuesday morning, is next door to Stanzler’s store, according to the Detroit Free Press. Mission captured the altercation on video and posted it on Facebook.
Stanzler drove his truck aggressively into the lot to block off his area, witnesses told the Detroit Metro Times. He then got out of his truck and continued to confront Mission, who remained calm. Mission told Stanzler to take up his parking grievance with the building owner.
At some point, Mission took out his cellphone to record the incident, asking Stanzler to repeat for the camera what he had been yelling at him. Stanzler put his middle finger in the air and then spat on Mission.
“I’ve encountered somebody saying a racial slur, somebody not being too happy with security, but never ran into where an individual, especially a white individual, felt comfortable enough to spit on me,” Mission said, according to the Associated Press.
Around 200 people attended the event organized by the London-based Doc Society called Good Pitch Local, which is “a day-long networking event showcasing new short-form non-fiction media projects and presenting opportunities for organizers to connect with media makers,” according to the Detroit Metro Times.
“That was outrageously disgusting behavior and completely unnecessary,” Maxyne Franklin, a founder of DOC Society, told the Detroit Free Press.
Franklin also said that her group was already moving the cars.
“Robert didn’t use a racial slur,” she said. “But whatever issues Robert had with the business owner … and the business owner is a white gentleman, and I can’t imagine Robert would have spat in his face.”
Stanzler was arrested for simple assault on Tuesday and released Wednesday. Police said the investigation is continuing.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and want to convey regret for my gross and despicable behavior during the course of my argument with Mr. Mission,” Stanzler said in an apology.
As a result of his vile actions, Dearborn-based Carhartt said in a statement that it has ended its partnership with Stanzler’s company, which sells antiques and Michigan wares.
“We expect our retailers to conduct themselves in accordance with our values, including respect for others,” spokeswoman Erica Salomon said in an email to the Detroit Free Press.
“Carhartt will not tolerate the offensive behavior recently demonstrated by the store’s owner. As a result, we have discontinued our relationship with the Detroit Mercantile.”