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Woman says complaint about copper on food at Napa Cafe led to her arrest

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A restaurant mishap landed a Memphis woman in jail. She believes she did nothing wrong and blames the whole ordeal on bad customer service.

Napa Cafe, however, said her group became "profane, argumentative, and abusive" after the restaurant took a meal off a customer's bill following a complaint.

Shahidah Jones ended up in jail Saturday even though she wasn't the guest who made a complaint about a piece of copper that was in some food.

"It was not my issue. It was not my plate. It was not my issue," she said. "It could have been addressed had it been handled properly in that moment with no farther issue."

Shahidah Jones says this piece of metal was found in someone's food.

Jones says the copper turning up on a plate wasn't what ticked the group off. It was how the restaurant responded to the problem.

She says they didn't offer to take the meal off the bill and even said they don't use copper in their restaurant.

"We are spending $2,000 in this room. This is ridiculous," Jones said.

The group of 21 people who were celebrating a friend's birthday felt they were treated unfairly. She says they paid the bill but decided as a group not to pay the service fee, which they say was handwritten on the receipt.

That caused an even bigger scene.

"We did not walk out on our bill. We are not paying gratuity," Jones said.

According to the affidavit, the owner called 911.

The group was told by police to leave but didn't. Jones says it's because they were waiting on a receipt.

She says she then asked a question about the gratuity and that's when things really escalated.

"I said, 'What is her name?' He said, 'Leave now or get arrested.' I was like, 'Arrest me.' He did, and I went to jail."

But Napa Cafe told a different story in a statement Monday, saying incorrect information had been posted on social media about the incident.

Once the guest brought the complaint to their attention, the restaurant stated, "we worked with the guest and amicably agreed to remove the cost of the dish from her bill. The guest was very satisfied with this peaceful resolution.

"Once the guest returned to the party and informed the other guests of the situation, communications with the whole group deteriorated. The group became hostile, profane, and argumentative."

Napa Cafe said a manager asked the group to leave seven times or more, and said they had already received their receipt. "After multiple requests to leave the Memphis police officers on site informed the guests that they had been peacefully asked to leave and if they did not leave they could be arrested."

Jones was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass, although those charges were dropped Monday. Jones still thinks she's owed an apology from the restaurant.

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