This past Thursday, April 3, a bystander shot footage of three women at the Chacho's on Westheimer engaging in a physical altercation with management and staff at the restaurant. Eventually, a Chacho's employee pinned one of the women to the ground, while the other two circled around, yelling wildly for him to stop. One of them was carrying an infant in her arms.
The video has now been shown on websites and news outlets across the country, gathering thousands of views. It's unclear exactly what caused the situation to escalate into such madness.
According to the New Black Panther Nation & The New Black Muslims, who issued a press release about the incident and planned to hold a protest outside of Chacho's on Sunday, April 6, the disagreement began over a to-go cup. Other news outlets have reported that the women ordered alcoholic beverages at Chacho's, then grew irate when they were told they could not take the alcohol with them in to-go cups or get refunds for their purchases.
Fox News reports that the planned protest fizzled out on Sunday after both sides agreed to bring in a third party to investigate the incident. The manager who allegedly instigated the scuffle was fired after the owner of Chacho's, John Burke, viewed the video.
Quanell X, New Black Panther Nation & New Black Muslims leader, has been speaking on behalf of the women involved, Sally Prince, LaShondra Prince and Mekell Prince, as has their lawyer, Peyman Momeni. Quanell X has been very vocal about his support for the women and his consternation at the fact that no one has been arrested for the alleged assault.
Calls to both Burke and Quanell X have not been returned.
UPDATE: Quanell X contacted us and clarified that the protest did take place. He said about 90 people showed up outside of Chacho's on Sunday, including two of the alleged victims and their family and friends. He added that the owner of the restaurant met with them at that time, and that it was a "productive meeting."
Quanell X also clarified that the disagreement began because the three alleged victims saw two Hispanic girls get a to-go cup for their margaritas and leave the premises. When the alleged victims then asked for to-go cups for their drinks, they were informed that restaurant policy forbids alcohol to leave the building. One of the women then asked to see the policy, and the manager told her no. She asked for a refund and he again told her no. When she asked why, according to a video the lawyers released to Fox, the manager replied, "Because you're a bitch."
Quanell X says one of the women then reached over the counter to grab a cup. That's when the manager came around the counter and the physical altercation began.
"My grandmother told me under no circumstances do you put your hands on a woman unless your life is in danger," Quanell X said. "Then you can defend yourself. But my grandmother said it's a cowardly man who will put his hand on a woman. Those are cowards masquerading with male genitalia. Those are not men."
If you have not seen it already, check out the original, unedited video. What do you think?
Note: This video contains strong language. And violence. Clearly.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
The story continues on the next page.
Chacho's has released the following statement regarding the incident:
We apologize for the unfortunate incident that took place in the late afternoon of April 2, 2014 at our Westheimer location. We have been in business at this location for 15 years and in our other restaurants for over 30 years and have never experienced such an incident before.
As are result of our internal investigation, we have terminated the manager on duty and two employees.
We have not been able to speak to the customers involved. We have, however, interviewed the employees involved and their statements are consistent.
They state that the matter began when three women drinking margaritas wanted to-go cups, presumably to take the margaritas with them. This is a violation of the law and our policy to not give to-go cups to customers with margaritas. The customers then became angry and loud. Two of the employees report that one of the customers tried to go behind the front counter to physically get a to-go cup but was physically not allowed to do so.
The customers then demanded a refund, but the manager on duty refused. The employees report the matter became more heated at this point, with the customers blocking the front counter, preventing customers in line from ordering. One of the employees reports he called the police by this time. Finally, when other customers in line tried to place orders but were unable to do so, the manager on duty physically tried to move the customer out of the way.
The video shows what happened after that time. The two other male employees shown in the video state they felt they needed to defend the manager.
The manager on duty could have performed better in these ways: 1. He could have made a greater attempt to calm down the customers and explain why a to-go cup could not be provided. 2. He should have immediately given a refund when the customer asked for a refund. 3. He acted contrary to the scope of his duties when he on his own physically touched the customer. He could have waited for the police to arrive, and called the police again to explain that the situation was deteriorating.
After careful examination of the video, we have determined that the two other employees acting aggressively should have exercised significantly more restraint. Other Chacho's employees seen in the video either were not physically involved or tried to restrain the other two Chacho's employees who acted aggressively.
As a result of the above analysis, we terminated the manager and the two employees who acted aggressively.
Again, we sincerely regret that this incident happened in our restaurant. We aspire to be a great restaurant for everyone. This incident has stained our reputation and wounded those of us who have worked so hard for so many years to make Chacho's successful. We want to thank the thousands of loyal Chacho's customers who in recent days have continued to visit our restaurants and communicated their support.