Sources Say Some Burmese People Spit And Uriniate In A Ricker's Store

By Laura Donaldson

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 12, 2010 at 7:50 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Indiana's NewsCenter has uncovered why a Ricker's employee posted a discriminatory message at the front of a Fort Wayne store.

Sources say the message was posted because some Burmese people were spitting and urinating in the store.

Officials with the Community Resource Center for Refugees say a Ricker's manager visited their office in February because they were having a problem.

The employee asked for a sign to be made in Burmese that said the behavior was not acceptable. The sign was posted but the action continued.

We’re told the upset employee then made their own sign that said "For sanitary purposes, there are no Burmese people allowed" and put it in the front door.

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic officials say no Burmese people complained, but a Caucasian person removed the sign and brought it them on March 3rd.

That night several social service agency members met and the sign was discussed. The Burmese Advocacy Center director says she was told that Christian Legal Service members were handling the situation. Christian Legal Service officials say they drafted a letter to Ricker's asking for the sign to be removed. But, it was never sent because Ricker's removed the sign quickly.

On Monday March 8th, Ricker's corporate officials say they found out about the discriminatory message demanded that employees take it down that day. They then issued a formal letter of apology and posted an apology on You-Tube Tuesday.

Ricker's CEO, Jay Ricker, said “Unfortunately, an employee responded to an alarming situation in an inappropriate manner by posting this sign."

The apology was accepted by the BAC who sent this statement, "The BAC also understands that this event arose out of lack of understanding and an inability of the parties to communicate with one another. Many of these refugees do not speak English and are completely unfamiliar with the broader American culture."

All parties involved say the situation has been handled and will work to move forward in an appropriate manner.

In-depth info:

Link: Read the Press Release from the Burmese Advocacy Center.

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