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Man files discrimination lawsuit against restaurant, security company after 2018 incident

Posted at 5:59 AM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 06:59:14-04

GLENDALE — A Milwaukee father walks into a popular restaurant with his daughters and ends up assaulted and handcuffed.

Najjar Abdullah recounts what happened on the night of Sept. 7, 2018. He and his 15 and 21-year-old daughters walked through the doors of Buffalo Wild Wings at Bayshore Mall. But before they could make it to the to-go counter Najjar says a security guard stopped them. ​

"The first thing I noticed is the guy was an armed security guard, so he had a firearm with him. He looked like a cop to me so definitely wanted to give him the respect that I thought he deserved," recalls Abdullah. ​

He says the guard told him and his daughters about their policy of only allowing people 21 years and older inside after nine.​

Najjar's 15-year-old daughter walked out and waited in the doorway. She got out her cell phone and recorded what happened next. Najjar describes the encounter;​

"So, he immediately got in front of me and said I have to leave. Where is the manager I would like to speak to the manager? So, I started to walk toward the front desk and he quickly got in front of me and said no you guys are going to leave," said Abdullah. ​

In the video provided by his lawyer, you can see Najjar walk to an employee at the counter. He says he asked him to talk and clarify the situation. Which only made things worse. In a matter of seconds, the situation escalates.​

​"After he starts to nudge me and pushes me toward the door. He takes out his pepper spray and sprays me in my face. Never once did I raise my voice no violent gestures. I kept calm wiped the pepper spray from my eyes and turned around and walked out of the store."​

Minutes later, Glendale police arrived and arrested Najjar for disorderly conduct.​

"It was a very hurtful feeling to see that take form and my daughters witnesses it. Me not knowing. I knew he was being a bully I knew he had a firearm so, I didn't know what he was going to do," said Abdullah.​

It took two years for the Glendale Police Department to drop the charges against Najjar. He never heard anything from Buffalo Wild Wings.​

Attorney Mark Thomsen last week filed a discrimination suit against Inspire Brands that owns the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise and the security company Meress and Associates. ​

"What is remarkable is they have this video and they still say pound sand," said Thomsen. ​"I think Buffalo Wild Wings needs to show up and be accountable and right this wrong. And they need to do it quickly."​

We reached out to Inspire Brands multiple times for a statement and never heard back.​

Thomsen believes something has to change ​

"As a white lawyer in Milwaukee County, I am tired of this conduct and it has to change."​

The armed security guard is required to have a private security permit through the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Records show this guard's permit expired in 2016. Two years before the incident. ​

It's unclear if the armed guard is still working at the restaurant. Najjar says no matter what, no one should be treated this way.​

"I was respectful from start to finish. I am coming in your place establishment I'm trying to do business with you. To this day I don't understand it," said Abdullah.

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