Norwich Police Investigating Racist Incident

Marcela Lee, a black woman who was buying breakfast at Starbucks Tuesday, recorded a white woman who was in the drive-thru yelling profanities and a racial slur at her.

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Norwich Police are investigating a racist incident that happened at a Starbucks in the city Tuesday morning. It was captured on Facebook Live by Norwich resident, Marcela Lee.

"This is the treatment that we get," said Lee, in reference to the video she recorded.

Lee, a black woman, said that she was getting breakfast at Starbucks on her way to work Tuesday when a woman behind her, who Lee said was white, started revving her engine and yelling that she was late for work.

"When she started screaming at me out of her window that is when I was like, you know, I don’t know how ugly this is going to get so I kind of want this to be recorded just in case anything goes wrong," said Lee. "Honestly I am really, really glad that I did."

In Lee's Facebook Live video you can see her drive to the window where Starbucks employees are overheard commenting on the interaction.

"I am sorry you had to experience that today," one of the workers is heard saying to Lee.

The employees did not make Lee pay for her meal. She drove away, but the confrontation did not end.

“So I left and I was sitting at a traffic light. She was about 30 yards away at another exit. She started screaming out her window," said Lee.

NBC Connecticut is not sharing the audio of the video because it contains foul language and a racial slur, but Lee explains what happens next.

"Then she proceeded to call me a stupid, ugly, dumb, n-word and then sped off," said Lee.

She said in the moment she was in disbelief, feeling both rage and sadness.

"Because this is the world that we live in," said Lee.

Chief Patrick Daley of the Norwich Police Department said that one of his officers saw the video on Facebook. The officer reached out to Lee and asked her to file a complaint. There is now an ongoing investigation into the incident.

"It is not tolerated in Norwich," said Chief Daley. "We are better than this."

A spokesperson for Starbucks confirmed that they are working with local law enforcement on the investigation and said they are proud of their partners for making sure the customer had a positive experience.

A detective was inside Starbucks when NBC Connecticut stopped by Wednesday. Daley said that officers have obtained surveillance video from Starbucks to aid in the investigation.

Lee said that she is thankful that officers reached out to her and stepped in to start an investigation.

"To the police officers who said, quote, 'not in our city,' like this is not what we do. We are not doing this," said Lee. "And to the girl who decided she was going to display that disgusting behavior, there are ramifications for your actions too.” 

Norwich Police said this is an ongoing investigation. No suspects have been named at this point.

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