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Sauce Saves: BBQ stand owner fends off racist attack with bottle of sauce

Edward Morgan had to think quickly when a man wielding a chain attacked his stand
Posted at 6:27 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 19:37:17-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Edward Morgan’s life is barbeque, and barbeque might’ve saved his life back on Oct. 10.

Morgan was setting up his roadside restaurant, The Burling-Que Stand, on 28th Street like he does every weekend, when he heard a commotion coming from the parking lot of a hotel adjacent to his stand.

“The next thing I knew the guy was here with the chain, swinging it hollering, 'F--- you, n-word!” said Morgan. “I’m just trying to get my business day started and to hear that I’m like, 'What’s going on?'”

The man swinging the chain and screaming vulgarities, police say, is 55-year-old Douglas Simmons. As Simmons moved closer to Morgan’s stand, Morgan defended himself with the only thing he could reach for: a bottle of BBQ sauce.

“I was digging for something to protect myself; the only thing I could find was a bottle of BBQ sauce so I slung it at him,” said Morgan.

It was enough to make Simmons retreat to his hotel room before police arrived and arrested him.

“The sauce didn’t break; I ended up using it later on that evening,” said Morgan.

He doesn’t have any plans to move from his 28th Street location, but admits the encounter left him shaken up.

“I’ve never seen anything this extreme; I’ve always read about it or seen it on YouTube or whatnot, but to actually go through it is something different,” said Morgan. “It kind of put me in a position to where I kind of have my guard up a little bit because I didn’t know if it was going to happen again.”

Simmons was charged with one count of assault and battery and one count of ethnic intimidation. He will be back in court on Nov. 2.

“I got pulled into it because of his hatred for Black people; he just wanted to take it out on any Black person he saw,” Morgan said. “I really believe if I wouldn’t have stood up for myself, he would’ve come over and swung that chain.”

The Burling-Que Stand is located at 171 28th Street in Grand Rapids.

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