ATLANTA (CN) – Attorney Joseph Shaw sued the Tavern at Phipps restaurant and its owners for racial discrimination after Shaw and his friend, former NBA player Joe Barry Carroll, who are both black, were asked to give up their seats at a bar in favor of two white women.
Shaw issuing the restaurant on the heels of a similar lawsuit filed by Carroll.
According to the federal complaint, Shaw and Carroll were approached by a white male bartender, who asked them to relinquish their seats to two white women. The men were in the middle of having drinks and appetizers. When Shaw and Carroll, the only black people at the bar, politely refused the bartender’s request, they were told it was customary at this bar to give up their seats for women.
Shortly after, an operating partner of the Tavern and the restaurant manager, a white man, asked Carroll and Shaw to leave. Shaw and Carroll informed the manager that a white man was seated at the bar but was not asked to relinquish his seat. The men also mentioned that there two empty seats at the other end of the bar, according to the complaint. The manager and the bartender told Shaw and Carroll the women wanted their seats.
The spectacle ended when a police officer, presumably called by the operating partner of the restaurant, escorted the men out of the restaurant. Carroll and Shaw later filed a complaint with the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission, which found that the defendants’ treatment of the plaintiff violated the city ordinance regarding “non-discrimination in public accommodations.”
Shaw is representing himself in this lawsuit.