Three Lexington Teens Claim Restaurant Manager Assaulted Them Because They’re Black


LEXINGTON, Ky.-(WTVQ) Three black teens say the manager of a Lexington restaurant attacked them because of the color of their skin. The girls claim this happened Saturday night at a restaurant called Portofino in downtown Lexington. They say they were just finishing up a photo shoot with friends when they asked Portofino’s manager if they could change in the restaurant’s bathroom. They say he allowed them to do that, but wasn’t nearly as kind on their way out.

“He just beat up two little black girls for no reason,” 16-year-old Trinity Gates said.

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She says the man who allegedly went after her sister and friend did have a reason, the color of their skin.

“It’s unfair,” Abigail Gates, Trinity’s Mother, said.

She says she dropped her girls off downtown saturday for a photo shoot. The girls say Portofino’s manager let them change in the bathroom, but when they tried to walk out he grabbed them and asked to see their bag, explaining someone had just stolen a coat.

“The woman behind him, the waitress, she says, ‘They were the only black kids in here and they had to do it,'” Queen Gates, Trinity’s sister, said.

She says they told the manager there was no reason to check their bag; they had only been there two minutes, but they say he persisted.

“I just don’t think that’s right. I just don’t think that’s right that we should feel uncomfortable in our skin,” Trinity said

The girls say the manager followed them outside, chasing them down the street, eventually pulling their hair, throwing punches, and even knocking one girl to the ground. She says the fall left her with a major scrape on her face.

“We said why are you doing this to us and he was like, ‘You hear me? I’m doing this because you’re black. I’m doing this because you’re black… he told me I was not a girl I was a black bit**,” Crystal Flowers said.

The girls say two waitresses across the street yelled, “Get them n******.”

“Honestly, that really hurt our feelings that he had to do this and that all of this had to happen and that they were calling us n****** and all of this had to happen just because we were black and they assumed we stole a jacket. That’s wrong and it shouldn’t have went that way,” Queen said.

ABC 36 went to Portofino Monday to get the other side of the story, but the man we spoke to said the restaurant has no comment. He did tell ABC 36, though, that the girls’ story isn’t true.

“I don’t want my daughter living in fear and ever since this happened, she lives in fear,” Abigail Gates said.

Lexington police are still trying to sort out what happened. They sent out a tweet, saying they documented everyone’s complaints. They added that one person was treated for an injury, but they got conflicting reports about how that injury happened.

“The anger was so real for me, you know? The anger. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do because I’m alone here with my children,” Abigail Gates said.

She says she wanted to pack up and move, but instead her family is filing a complaint, hoping to soon see the restaurant manager behind bars.

“You cannot just pack up and leave. You have to deal, you know, and you have to fight so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to fight this,” Gates said.

Police say they are taking the allegations seriously and are investigating, but the girls and their mom are frustrated. They say they wish the restaurant manager had been arrested and fired from his job.