A Black Starbucks Inc. customer filed court papers against the coffee house chain Wednesday, alleging he became ill after being confronted at a Culver City location by police who had been falsely told by a manager that a temporary restraining order prevented him from being at the store.
Silas Braxton brought the still unofficial lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging racial discrimination, civil rights violations, negligence, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and slander. He seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Starbucks representative could not be immediately reached.
Culver City police received a 911 call about 12:20 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2020, that a man named Ron, who had caused an incident three days earlier at the store at Sepulveda Boulevard and Hannum Avenue, was refusing to leave despite a restraining order banning him from returning, according to Braxton’s court papers.
One of the five officers went into the store, then came outside and told Braxton as he sat in the patio, “Sir, you have a restraining order against you that you are in violation of and I am here to arrest you,” Braxton’s court papers state.
Asked by Braxton for the name of the person the officers were looking for, the policeman answered, “Ron,” the plaintiff’s court papers state.
When Braxton said his name was not Ron, the officer said the manager had identified him as the man against whom they had obtained a restraining order, Braxton’s court papers state.
When Braxton insisted the identity of him was mistaken, the officer went back inside the store, then returned once more and said the manager again identified him as Ron, even though other patrons sitting around the plaintiff said his name was not Ron, according to Braxton’s court papers.
“Braxton’s heart began racing and he was overcome with fear,” especially after seeing the officers put their hands close to their weapons, Braxton’s court papers state.
Eventually another store manager showed up and said Braxton was not Ron, Braxton’s court papers state. Prior to the second store manager’s arrival, none of the Starbucks employees inside came outside to identify the plaintiff face-to-face before calling the police, Braxton’s court papers state.
Braxton “left the premises in a frenzy” and his daughter later had him rushed to a hospital for treatment and observation of a heart condition, Braxton’s court papers state.