NYPD investigating after racial slur spray-painted outside Black-owned restaurant in Brooklyn

Crystal Cranmore Image
Friday, March 29, 2024
NYPD investigating racist slur spray-painted outside Black-owned restaurant
Crystal Cranmore has the latest in Brooklyn on what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

BEDFORD STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The NYPD is investigating after a message of hate was spray-painted in bold letters outside a Black-owned restaurant that has served the Brooklyn community for more than a decade.

Police say someone wrote hateful messaging outside Rustik Tavern in Bedford Stuyvesant sometime early Friday morning, a message patrons are now greeted with as they step in and out of the restaurant.

"It just caught us off guard," Rustik Tavern owner Frantz Metellus said. "We're coming in to open the business and all of a sudden, boom."

Metellus is still processing the hateful speech written on the sidewalk outside his business.

"Could it be somebody who's going through trouble in their mind? Could it just be somebody who just hates me or somebody who just, I don't know, going through a rough day, I have no idea," Metellus said.

The n-word is spray-painted twice outside the restaurant.

Metellus believes it happened sometime Friday morning after he closed the business Thursday night.

He says they are looking for surveillance cameras that may have captured the act.

Metellus, a Brooklyn native, opened the restaurant more than 16 years ago, making the transition from an attorney to hospitality.

It's a new path toward helping his community.

"We pretty much built it because there's nothing else around here," Metellus said. "And we thought we were doing it for the neighborhood. And, you know, the neighborhood took a liking to us, and we've been here ever since."

Some describe it as a hidden gem.

"I mean, the food is so good and it's appealing," customer Gabrielle Clark said.

Now it's being investigated as a possible target of hate, according to police.

"It's pretty crazy. You would think not in this day and age that would happen, but unfortunately, we have those randoms," Clark said. "They just can't understand the culture and respect, you know, us being in our spaces."

"I have to just brush it off and move forward," Metellus said. "It's nothing else I can do."

Metellus says he isn't going to let this get him down.

He says he's gathering a team of volunteers to help clean it up as police investigate the crime.


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