ROANOKE, Va. – A lawsuit claiming racial discrimination from Golden Corral was officially filed in Roanoke Wednesday. A local woman says employees mistreated her and her family because of her race last month.
A 31-page document explains the lawsuit and allegations of what happened when Leah Williams and her family visited Golden Corral four weeks ago.
She says she hopes this lawsuit helps to prevent a similar situation for any other person or family. Leah Williams and her attorneys say restaurant employees falsely accused the family of stealing chicken wings during a birthday dinner for her 10-year-old daughter.
Her attorney said in a news conference his client and her family also faced racial discrimination from the restaurant.
"I don't need to go into any details about the historical stereotypes of blacks and chicken because you already know it. So you pick chicken to falsely accuse a family of stealing from a buffet that's already been paid for and then you say you have the evidence to prove it but you never show the family the evidence or the police the evidence," said Mario Williams.
Williams spoke to the media for the first time, saying she's not filing the lawsuit for herself or special attention.
"I stand here brazen and bold and will not back down to what lies ahead of me. I'm doing this to teach a lesson for all children to let them know, you stand up for what you believe is right when others stand against you," said Williams.
Her attorneys say they haven't had any contact with Golden Corral but say one of the employees listed in the lawsuit contacted Williams after the incident and threatened her.
Her attorney says Williams' son and daughter are affected by the whole situation.
"That kind of experience, as you can imagine, being falsely accused of stealing in front of your parents and grandmother, just leaves a psychological trauma with you. We will have experts in the case," said Williams.
"Platinum Corral. It isn't about apologizing. What are you going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again, to make sure this family doesn't suffer the way this family did?" said Mike Donovan, president of Nexus Services.
A company speaking for the restaurant would not confirm if surveillance video exists but said it's company policy not to release surveillance video.
They've apologized once before through social media and offering to speak with Williams, and have said the company is addressing the incident internally.
Lawyers for Williams say they have not heard back from anyone with Golden Corral.
Platinum Corral, a franchisee of Golden Corral, provided this statement to WSLS 10, “As a corporate policy, we do not provide comment on litigation, threatened or otherwise.”
Roanoke police were asked if they received any surveillance video from the restaurant. They tell us as far as they know no such video exists.
Press conference in Roanoke! GOLDEN CORRAL SUED FOR RACIAL DISCRIMINATIONPosted by WSLS 10 / WSLS.com on Wednesday, September 27, 2017