The alleged use of a racial slur by a Wantagh restaurant delivery driver against a Black customer has prompted a police investigation and a Saturday rally outside the eatery.
Monique Hawkins, 44, of Massapequa, said the slur was sent in a text to her daughter last weekend after she had a disagreement with the delivery driver from I Love Pizza, a restaurant on Merrick Road.
Hawkins said her daughter, Lashae Jerry, 25, also of Massapequa, was with her four children in a hamlet park when she ordered pizza from the restaurant for delivery. The delivery took about two hours, Hawkins said, and when her daughter’s order arrived, the delivery driver asked Jerry about a tip. Hawkins said her daughter told the driver she wouldn't tip him because the delivery took too long.
The driver got into his car and texted the slur to Jerry’s phone, from which she had placed the order, Hawkins said.
The text also said in part, Black Lives Matter, but Jerry’s didn’t. It brought tears to her daughter's eyes, Hawkins said.
"I want the young man to know it’s not OK to say that to her," she said. "My daughter shouldn’t have to take the mental abuse going to another town. This is all our community."
Nassau County police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said detectives are investigating the incident.
Jerry could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
A man who Tuesday identified himself as the owner of the pizza shop said he could not comment because "I’m talking to police right now."
Media reports said the delivery driver was fired.
Activists on Long Island plan to hold a rally Saturday afternoon in front of the eatery.
The slur used against Jerry in a text should never be condoned, said Terrel Tuosto, of West Hempstead, co-founder of Long Island Peaceful Protest and an organizer of Saturday's rally.
"There is a tremendous amount of pain in using that word," said Tuosto, 28, the leader of the grassroots group behind many Long Island protests last summer over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
"People want to feel welcome at your establishment and that trust was broken," he said of the restaurant.