CHICAGO (CBS) — When the owner of an Andersonville deli wore a certain T-shirt to work last week, he never dreamed it would lead to hate-filled reviews on Yelp.
Last week, Piatto Pronto owner Mike Itta donned a shirt with the words, “I Can Breathe, I Obey the Law,” referring to the 2014 arrest of a 43-year-old Eric Garner, a black man who was killed when a New York police officer put him in a choke hold. Garner repeatedly told police “I can’t breathe,” and those words have since become a popular slogan for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Customers took a photo of Itta wearing the shirt, and the picture soon was posted online.
Then, to paraphrase Itta’s unairable words, the salami hit the fan. His phone started ringing off the hook, and his Yelp reviews tanked.
“If I offended anybody — anybody — I’m really sorry,” he said. “I’m not a racist. Did you people, before you put those nasty words, did you call me and ask me to hear my side of the story? No, because you’ve never been in here. You’ve never seen my face. You don’t know me.”