RICHMOND HEIGHT, MO - A local restaurant is at the center of controversy after allegations of racial profiling. A group of African-American professionals claim they were embarrassed when police officers arrived after the group was accused of not wanting to pay their bill.
The incident allegedly happened Saturday, February 9th at the Blue Sky Tower Grill on South Brentwood Boulevard. We are told a group of 30 African-Americans were there to celebrate a friend's birthday. They claimed they were kicked out of the restaurant before their dinner party was officially set to end.
“It made us feel like a criminal. It made me feel like we were breaking the law and we were not,” said Terrence Dickerson.
30-year-old Terrence Dickerson is a chef, a recording artist and a father of two. Dickerson says on Saturday he made reservations for 30 of his closest friends and family members to attend his birthday dinner and celebration.
Terrence says what was supposed to be a night of joy and celebration turned into a night of humiliation and turmoil.
“We wanted to have a good time and a birthday celebration, they treated us like we're not supposed to be there,” said Dickerson.
“About 8:20 p.m. Saturday we got a call for a possible disturbance involving 30 people at the Blue Sky Grill. We had number officers 7 or 8 officers respond. We quickly found out that it was not a disturbance just a misunderstanding over how the group would be billed if it would be one check or an individual check. When we arrived, the restaurant came to an agreement and was working with the group,” said Chief Doug Scaeffler.
Cell phone video captured the birthday party. That video has been shared on social media numerous times.
Dickerson says he signed a contract with Blue Sky reserving a party space. Dickerson showed us the emailed that states that everyone could do separate checks for their own food and drink and that they would be charged 20 percent on all checks for gratuity.
Dickerson says the night of the party things changed quickly. He claims the waitress refused to serve them because she felt overworked due to the large party. “She left and never came back. The next message we get is the police want you to leave,” said Dickerson.
Hofton Nelson attended the dinner party that night and says he left embarrassed. “I looked out and noticed like 6 or 7 more cops, like 8 total. I asked if any laws were broken or is there a reason you should be here. Police said they were called that a group of 30 that did not want to pay, and I said that's not true, we were still trying to get our food,” said Nelson.
Dickerson says he believes the restaurant feared the group would not pay their bill because they were African-American. They were then forced to pay their bills in a single file line and forced to leave.
Our news crew headed to Blue Sky Grill to get some answers. When we arrived, we were greeted by a security guard and asked to leave. We asked for a statement from the owner and we were told they did not have a comment but is fully aware of the incident. Leaving Terrence and his party with more questions than answers. “Very embarrassing. Police told everybody we had to go upstairs because it was a bad look on the place. I told him the fact that we have a black party of 30 and we have a contract to be up here, it looks bad because you have 8 police officers here and no laws are being broken,” said Nelson.
Dickerson is now calling for an apology from Blue Sky Grill. “I would like for them to reach out to me and apologize for the service and her leaving us up there without communicating with us,” said Nelson.
Our new crew made numerous attempts to reached out to Blue Sky Grill management team for comment and was repeatedly told no one was available for comment.
On Wednesday, the owners of Blue Sky Tower Grill, Bill and Patti Hildebrand, sent us the following statement:
We are the owners of Blue Sky Tower Grill in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Unfortunately, we are currently out of town and unable to return until Monday, February 18, 2019. We were out of town on Saturday, February 9, 2019. As a result, we are in the process of trying to determine what happened that evening. We would be happy to sit down with you next week and discuss this unfortunate incident.
In the meantime, we have been in communication with the customer and have agreed to return the $100.00 facility fee. We have also apologized to the customer for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction. Likewise, we apologize to all of the guests who were inconvenienced last Saturday evening. Our family has been in the restaurant business since 1932. We always try our best to meet our customer's expectations, apparently we did not do so in this case. We are sorry this incident happened.