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Councilwoman responds to Cheapside Cafe online controversy

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 14:33:56-04

CINCINNATI -- A Cincinnati City Council member says she doesn't believe a Downtown restaurant or police are to blame after it was revealed that a social media post about a homeless man being escorted from the restaurant didn't tell the whole story.

Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard wrote on Facebook that she spoke with the Police Chief Eliot Isaac, Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Joe Creighton, the owner of Cheapside Cafe, about the incident there.

"I don’t place the blame of this incident at their feet," Dennard wrote. "The responding officers did approach the gentleman with empathy and I'm grateful for that."

Dennard wrote that she also spoke with Pamela Miller, whose viral post started the online controversy. Miller had written that she watched cafe staff call police on a black homeless man who "wasn't bothering anyone or doing anything wrong, just resting and trying to survive the unbearable heat." The post sparked a deluge of negative reviews online.

However, Cheapside later wrote more about what led to them calling the police, explaining the man had spent hours in the restaurant. During that time, he was rude to customers including one who offered to buy him a meal, called a server a "mother****er," and fell asleep after eating, the restaurant's post states. They said the man had verbally abused their staff previously, too.

MORE: After barrage of one-star reviews, Cheapside Cafe defends calling police on homeless man

Police also responded to the controversy, posting an officer's body camera video of the incident. It showed that officers were not rude to the man as the original post had claimed.

Dennard apologized for her own earlier post about Cheapside's reaction. She also wrote she will continue to use her platform " educate people on issues of racial, social, gender, economic, environmental and digital justice."

"Coming to the aid of marginalized people is something that I take very seriously," Dennard wrote. "For far too long, so many people have gone unseen or unheard by people in the majority. I will always be a fighter and a champion for their causes."

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