Pembroke Pines police officer refused service at Arby's
Police chief receives apology from Arby's executives
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The chief of police in Pembroke Pines has received an apology after one of his officers was denied service at a fast-food restaurant in the city.
Pembroke Pines police spokeswoman Amanda Conwell said a uniformed officer was denied service Tuesday night at the Arby's on Pines Boulevard. The reason, Conwell said, was because the customer was a police officer.
"I am offended and appalled that an individual within our community would treat a police officer in such a manner," Police Chief Dan Giustino said in a news release. "It is unacceptable, and I will be contacting the Arby's CEO to demand an apology."
Conwell said Giustino called the restaurant's corporate office and spoke to Arby's executives, who apologized on behalf of their organization. She said Arby's CEO Paul Brown and senior vice president of operations Scott Boatwright assured Giustino that the employee's behavior was "unacceptable and not representative of the company's values."
"Chief Giustino was appreciative and accepted their apology and now considers this matter closed," Conwell said.
According to an offense report filled out by the officer, identified as Sgt. Jennifer Martin, the officer ordered her food in the drive-through of the restaurant and drove to the window to pay.
READ: Arby's incident report
Martin claims that the clerk, Kenneth Davenport, took her credit card. She said the restaurant's manager, Angel Mirabal, then approached the window and said, "He doesn't want to serve you because you are a police officer."
The officer said she told Mirabal that she was uncomfortable and "wasn't certain I wanted to dine at the restaurant."
According to the report, Mirabal assured Martin that everything was OK, handed her the food and laughed while telling her that Davenport was allowed to refuse her service.
Martin said that she went inside the restaurant, and Mirabal provided her with a refund and his contact information. She said Davenport refused to give her his contact information.
Conwell said the incident happened on the same evening that a woman and her daughter visited the Pembroke Pines Police Department to drop off cookies and a "thank you" card.
"We are very proud of the partnerships we have built within our city, and for an incident like this to have happened is very disappointing for everyone," Giustino said.
Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney asked an employee at the restaurant if she had heard about the incident.
"No, I didn't," the employee said. "I'm not really at liberty to say even if I was."
Despite employees claiming to be unaware of the incident, a group of police officers' wives held a protest outside of the restaurant Wednesday.
"It's upsetting to see that this is happening across the nation and people are acting so nasty and disrespectful to people (who) go out and protect everyone's lives every day," protester Adina Alsina told Local 10.
Broward County Police Benevolent Association President Jeff Marano said that the police union is calling for a national boycott of the fast-food chain. He said that Arby's should not only apologize to the Pembroke Pines Police Department, but to every police officer.
"This behavior is unacceptable," Marano said. "The disdain and lack of respect for law enforcement, as well as the fatal attacks on the men and women in uniform in America, is due to a lack of leadership -- starting with our commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama."
However, Davenport's grandfather said his grandson was just making a joke to the officer. Thomas McCutcheon said he raised his grandson "to be honest and respectful of everybody."
McCutcheon said Davenport's words were "taken out of context and blown into something much bigger than what it should be."
According to the police union, there have been 83 deaths of law enforcement officers while in the line of duty so far this year in the U.S.
The police union has asked that the employee who refused to serve the officer be fired.
"Children will be children," McCutcheon said. "Nineteen years old don't make you grown."
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