Raeisha Williams speaks at a gathering outside of Benihana in Golden Valley March 31. Williams and other Black patrons in her party were forced to leave the restaurant in what they allege was an instance of discrimination.

African American customers are calling for a boycott of Benihana after an alleged discriminatory experience March 29 at the 850 Louisiana Ave. location in Golden Valley. The boycott accompanies a list of demands for the restaurant chain to right what one of the customers, Chauntyll Allen, a St. Paul Schools board member and founder of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, called a “nightmare” situation.

According to a release, the party of five were refused service after they requested their table be cleaned and they speak with the restaurant’s manager. The situation ended with the arrival of police and the party left without incident. The event was livestreamed by the customers on Facebook Live.

The boycott was announced at a rally outside of the restaurant two days after the incident. The demands included termination of staff, the institution of anti-racism training and a public apology.

Golden Valley city officials acknowledged the gathering and offered a statement March 31.

“The City of Golden Valley is dedicated to being a supportive and united community, strengthened by the diversity of its residents and visitors,” the statement read. “City staff has planned a meeting with the five Black women organizing the event this afternoon based on their experience at Benihana. The Police Department has been in contact with event organizers and will support and protect the right to assemble and peacefully protest.”

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