Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts, at right, along with Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor Bankole Thompson, outside Epicurus Restaurant in Detroit. Pitts was attacked at the establishment on February 28, sparking mass demonstrations demanding a public apology.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
By Eric T. Campbell
April 1-7, 2007
With the arrest and release of Malik Yakini by Detroit Police March 27, the protest at the Epicurus restaurant by Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts and his supporters has escalated.
Pitts was allegedly asaulted by an employee at Epicurus, possibly the son of the owners, three weeks ago after coming from the copy shop next door and attempting to use the restaurant's bathroom. Since then, Detroit activists have boycotted the Wayne State campus eatery in increasingly large numbers including a demonstration by over 100 people during the lunch hour on March 23.
Pitts, who is a prominent Detroit artist and community activist who recently received the Metro Times award for 'Artist of the Year', has demanded a public apology from the owners of Epicurus and sensitivity training for its employees.
As the paper went to press, the owners have failed to issue an apology or take any responsibility for the incident.
"They've had an opportunity every day I've been there to come out and say, Mr. Pitts we're terribly sorry about what our son has done, and they haven't taken that opportunity whatsoever," Pitts said in an interview.
Restaurant representatives refuse to comment.
Malik Yakini, the director of the Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy in Oak Park and recipient of the 2006 Administrator of the Year award given by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), has been one of the consistent supporters of Ibn Pitts.
His arrest March 27, after the rally seemed to be the result of his crossing of a boundary set by police to contain the demonstration.
According to Yakini, this goes beyond the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement and was just another example of ongoing police aggravation.
"Regulations are set by law, not by individual officers," Yakini told the Michigan Citizen. "This is a pattern of harassment. It's simply an intimidation tactic."
Yakini was taken to the Northeast district police station on Nevada, held for two hours and then released.