Santa Fe, NM – A part-time college professor, who also works as a racial justice director, claimed that a Dunkin’ Donuts manager kicked him out of the coffee shop because of his race, then placed his life in danger by calling the police.
"It's as if saying, 'We don't need your kind around here. We don't need your stuff. We don't need all that you're bringing around here,'" Timothy Nelson, a historian and University of New Mexico professor, told KOB. "'We don't need it.'"
According to Nelson, the incident occurred on Oct. 15.
He says that he stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on St. Francis Drive to buy a cup of coffee while his car was being repaired at a nearby Firestone shop, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Coffee in hand, Nelson left the Dunkin’ Donuts, wandered through a cemetery, and checked on the status of his vehicle repairs before he returned to the coffee shop to use the business’s Wi-Fi.
According to Nelson, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager later approached him and told him he needed to leave.
“All I know is, she said I was there too long,” he explained to KRQE.
“You’re done,” the manager told him in a cell phone recording Nelson provided to the news outlet.
“So what you’re saying is, I only get an hour?” he asked her.
“Timothy! Timothy,” the manager interrupted. “Goodbye.”
In another video clip, Nelson asked the manager if she had called the police.
“You’re causing a scene,” she told him. “Goodbye!”
Nelson told KRQE that he believes the reason he was kicked out of the shop was due to his race – not because of the business’s one-hour rule.
"Come on! A one-hour rule at Dunkin'?” he told the news outlet. “Come on, man!"
A video Nelson later uploaded to Facebook showed him interacting with police when they arrived to handle the manager’s complaint.
Nelson explained that he had brought his car to be repaired because someone had “n----r-rigged” his vehicle, so he decided to get a cup of coffee while he waited.
After he told the officers about his encounter with the Dunkin’ Donuts manager, Nelson questioned where the coffee shop’s one-hour rule had “come from,” the video showed.
The officers calmly explained that they understood Nelson’s frustration, but that the business was private property and had the right to impose rules as they saw fit.
“I’m sorry to tell you that,” the officer said.
Nelson told the officers that he knew the situation was not the officers’ fault, and the police even offered to take him somewhere else so he could access Wi-Fi.
Nelson then referenced the camo-print coat he was wearing, and said it might have made him look like he was “homeless.”
“But I was in the Army, right?” Nelson said. “So as Lieutenant Nelson, I couldn’t be in there for longer than an hour if my f--kin'…see what I’m saying?”
Nelson spent several more minutes discussing the issue with the officers, who then chatted with him about his military service and the problems he was having with his car, the video showed.
Despite the cordial interaction, Nelson later told KRQE that the Dunkin’ Donuts manager put his “life in danger” by calling them to the scene.
“For you to have called the police, you put my life in danger,” Nelson said, adding that he planned to use the video and experience to help teach his college class about police brutality against African Americans.
The coffee shop’s franchisee, Irene Deubel, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that she asked Nelson to leave the store because she thought he hadn’t made a purchase, and denied allegations that she kicked him out because he is black.
“I know what my policy is and it’s going to remain,” Deubel said. “It’s not because he was black. It’s because he was sitting here without purchasing something. If I went to the store, I would never do that.”
According to Deubel, Nelson “went off like a madman” when she told him about the shop’s one-hour policy.
“He went all out of control,” she said. “I mean – totally.”
"The franchisee who owns and operates the restaurant informs us that this incident resulted from a misunderstanding, and that she apologizes to the guest for the poor experience," Dunkin’ Donuts corporate office said in a statement to FOX News.
The company explained that the franchisee’s policy is to “allow guests to remain in her restaurant no more than an hour after making a purchase,” but that the corporation does not require their franchisees to have such a policy.