*For Immediate Release*
Date: July 1, 2020
From: Community Actively Seeking Transparency (C.A.S.T) March on Maryland, Showing Up for Racial Justice Annapolis & AACo (SURJ3A), Women Indivisible Strong Effective (WISE), Connecting the Dots, One Pasadena
Protest Planned for July 3 in Response to Denny’s Calling 911 on Local Civil Rights Activist
Hanover Denny’s Calls 911 For Reverend’s Inquiry on Tomatoes and Croutons, Gets Nine Police Car Response
On July 12, 2019, Rev. Marguerite Morris, an African American disabled senior citizen and longtime civil rights leader, was racially profiled and arrested at the Denny’s restaurant located at 1365 Mellon Road in Hanover, Maryland. The restaurant manager called Anne Arundel County Police on Rev. Morris, who was dining with her 10-year old grandnephew, after she inquired about a charge for tomatoes and croutons on her salad.
Nine police cars responded to the call, which falsely reported that Rev. Morris was causing a disturbance. Rev. Morris was arrested and escorted from the restaurant in police custody, and her grandnephew was placed in a police car for approximately one hour. The restaurant banned her from its premises- a ban that currently remains in place. For almost a year, Rev. Morris and the Anne Arundel County NAACP have attempted to resolve this matter with Denny’s corporate offices, which have advised that no action will be taken to remedy the situation.
In addition to highlighting the disturbing pattern of unfounded 911 calls against African Americans, this incident has revealed systemic issues of racial bias with county policing, 911 operation, and the States Attorney’s office. It highlights the need for increased civilian oversight of the police department, as well as easier avenues for civilian input into policing practices. There have been several incidents reported to the Community Actively Seeking Transparency (C.A.S.T.) where citizens have been blocked from correcting police records, as Rev. Morris was in this case.
A protest will take place at the Hanover Denny’s on July 3 at 5PM. As a part of this action, we urge a boycott of Denny’s restaurants until the ban against Rev. Morris is lifted and Denny’s takes remedial action to address the damage Rev. Morris suffered.
Additionally, we make the following demands regarding police, state, and county government:
That the States Attorney enforce penalties against persons knowingly making false statements to 911 operators and/or police officers; and review the elements of this case for criminal charges:
That county police working in conjunction with local organizations to include C.A.S.T., immediately develop a policy giving impacted persons at least 30 days to review and object to reports, and that erroneous reports be corrected; and
That inaccurate reports stemming from this incident be immediately corrected or be externally reviewed for accuracy.
The public can help by signing and sharing our petition for an independent, fully staffed, Civilian Review Board with resources and subpoena power in Anne Arundel County. TO SIGN NOW visit http://chng.it/nBr2N2Sjgx
We will meet in the parking lot on the side closest to Denny’s at 7467 Ridge Road, Hanover, MD 21076. We will then proceed to the Denny’s together to stand with Reverend Morris for increased civilian oversight.