Ghenya Grant of Wyandanch claims the Infinity Diner in West...

Ghenya Grant of Wyandanch claims the Infinity Diner in West Babylon refused to serve her in August after she declined to give up her booth to a white family. Right, the exterior of the diner on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

An African-American attorney claims a West Babylon diner violated her civil rights by refusing to serve her after she refused to give up her booth to a white family.

Ghenya Grant said Suffolk police told her to leave Infinity Diner because "the manager doesn't want you here" and threatened to arrest her, according to a notice of claim filed Wednesday.

Officers assaulted her by "pushing her toward the door," and threw her and a friend out on Aug. 16, the claim states.

On the sidewalk, Grant, 44, of Wyandanch, said she asked police, "If they don't like you because of the color of your skin, they can decide not to serve you?" She claims the officers replied, "Yes."

"I believe that I was discriminated against and mistreated based upon the color of my skin," Grant, whose Manhattan practice includes business and entertainment law, said Saturday.

Infinity manager Mike Skaliotis rebutted Grant's claims of racial bias. He said police were called after she moved to a larger booth without permission and created a disturbance by loudly refusing to return to a smaller table.

The claim, which does not specify damages, names Suffolk County, the police department and Officers Matthew Friedich, Michael Sweet and Robert Mroczkowski as parties to a potential lawsuit.

A Suffolk police spokesman said Saturday that the department does not comment on pending litigation. The county did not respond to a request for comment.

Grant said she hopes to send a message "that people of color should be treated the same as everyone else."

Grant went to the diner at 663 Rte. 109 about 5:30 p.m. to meet a friend, who is also African-American, and was seated in a booth, according to the claim.

"She was asked to move and she saw no good reason for that request to be made, nor was there a good reason provided," said her attorney, Frederick K. Brewington of Hempstead.

Grant said she refused to move, seeing other open tables, and a manager then told her she wasn't going to be served.

Skaliotis, who was in charge that night, said Grant's guest hadn't arrived when she moved without permission from a booth for two to one that seats four.

"After explaining this to the customer and kindly asking her to move and sit at a smaller booth, her response and refusal to change her seat was loud enough to startle customers," he said.

Federal law prohibits restaurants from refusing service on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. In most cases, refusal is warranted where a customer's presence detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons and employees.

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