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January 19, 2019

Brooklyn butcher shop targeted at protest of racial slur hurled at black customer

January 12, 2019
NYPD Officers arrest Demba Kane, who’s accused an unnamed employee at Sagal Meat Market of using a racial slur — addressing him by the Spanish word for monkey. (Kevin C Downs for New York Daily News)

Protesters swarmed a Brooklyn butcher shop Saturday over a black customer’s complaint that a shop worker used a racial slur by addressing him with the Spanish word for monkey.

About 20 people gathered outside Sagal Meat Market on Broadway Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant to protest the Jan. 2 incident, chanting “Shut it down!”

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Four people were arrested — including Demba Kane, the customer who says he was the object of the slur by an unnamed shop employee.

All four — including Kane’s wife, Venessa, and National Action Network organizer the Rev. Kevin McCall — were to be charged with disorderly conduct, officials said.

“The gentleman inside, he underestimated my Spanish,” Demba Kane said. “He told me ‘Aqui, mono.’ So I tell him ‘Why do you call me mono? Mono is not good.’

“He told me I don’t understand. I say, ‘I understand very well. Mono means monkey.’”

Sagal Meat Market on Broadway Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The shop was swarmed by protesters Saturday after a black customer complained a shop worker used a racial slur – addressing him by the Spanish word for monkey.
Sagal Meat Market on Broadway Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The shop was swarmed by protesters Saturday after a black customer complained a shop worker used a racial slur – addressing him by the Spanish word for monkey. (Kevin C Dow for New York Daily News)

Kane said he then asked to speak to a manager and was told none was available.

“I came here three times to ask for the number for the manager. They refused to give it to me,” he said.

Venessa Kane fumed that store workers “continue to treat us with disrespect and we’re not taking it anymore. This is the last day.”

Market worker Alberto Cruz, however, claims the employee who allegedly made the racist remark was fired.

“He’s gone.” Cruz said. “He left that day.”

Former owner Lenin Sanchez, who opened the store in 2009, said his brother, Luis Fernandez, now owns and operates the business. Fernandez did not immediately return a call for comment.

Rev. McCall was incensed by the incident.

“You think you can do that in Bedford-Stuyvesant? Hell no! It will not be tolerated,” he said.

Anthony Beckford, of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn, vowed incidents like what happened at the butcher shop won’t be tolerated.

“The word is going to go out, and it should have been out — that If you disrespect anyone in our communities, your business will not stay standing,” he said. “If you think that you can come and talk to us any which way, we’re going to hurt you economically.”

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Neighborhood resident Rachel Taylor said she’s saddened by the poor treatment of black customers at the butcher.

“They do treat black people differently,” the longtime Bed-Stuy resident said. “It’s sad, but they do.”

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