The CEO of Arby’s reached out to Pembroke Pines police yesterday to issue an apology following a 19-year-old employee’s refusal to serve a uniformed police officer Tuesday night.
According to the offense report, Sgt. Jennifer Martin ordered take-out using the drive thru at an Arby’s located in the Pembroke Lakes Mall whereupon placing her order, the clerk at the drive-thru window “seemed slightly rude and short with his responses.”
Not thinking much about it, Sgt. Martin chalked it up to a faulty speaker system.
After driving around to the window, the clerk, Kenneth Davenport, took the officer’s credit card after which his superior, Angel Maribal approached the window and informed Sgt. Martin that “He [Davenport] doesn’t want to serve you because you are a police officer.”
Davenport refused to process the officer’s credit card.
See excerpt of offense report below:
Pembroke Pines Police Chief Dan Giustino issuing a media release said, “I am offended and appalled that an individual within our community would treat a police officer in such a manner. It is unacceptable, and I will be contacting the Arby’s CEO to demand an apology.”
WSVN: “Jeff Marano from the Police Benevolent Association also joined the conversation with comments of concern. ‘This is inexcusable behavior for an employee in an establishment to be treating a uniformed police officer or anybody in the public like that,’ said Marano….”
The incident sparked outrage across social media with calls for law enforcement and family members to boycott Arby’s nationwide.
Giustino contacted Arby’s which was promptly followed up by a response from Arby’s CEO, Paul Brown, and Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Boatwright, who issued an apology on behalf of the restaurant chain.
Arby’s issued the following statement, which I am sure, is elsewhere besides this little blurb on their Facebook page (screenshot below).
“We take this isolated matter very seriously as we respect and support police officers in our local communities. As soon as the issue was brought to our attention, our CEO spoke with the Police Chief who expressed his gratitude for our quick action and indicates the case is closed. We will be following up with our team members to be sure that our policy of inclusion is understood and adhered to.”
The clerk, Davenport, claims that the incident was “blown way out of proportion.”
Thomas McCutcheon, Davenport’s grandfather, said he’s taught his grandson to be respectful and said the incident was a misunderstanding that he hopes gets cleared up.
Davenport’s account, according to his grandfather, was that he became overwhelmed while taking drive-thru orders and asked his manager to help him. Davenport did not have a view of the intercom and surrounding area and did not know Martin was a police officer as she placed her order, his grandfather said.
As Mirabal assisted Davenport, Mirabal told the officer that Davenport did not want to serve her because she was an officer. Davenport told his grandfather that Mirabal meant it as a compliment to the female officer, indicating it was instead his pleasure to serve her….
According to the grandfather, Davenport meant it “jokingly.”
“Jokingly” like “pigs in a blanket….”????
“Somebody made a joke and she just didn’t take it the right way.” Davenport and his grandfather just laid the blame for the whole incident at the feet of Sgt. Martin…and race even though the officer he refused service and his manager are Hispanic. Moreover, a not so veiled threat to Arby’s and Pembroke Pines Police informing them that any actions taken against the clerk would be considered racist followed by a lawsuit for discrimination.
Of course, it was Sgt. Martin who was discriminated against because she is a police officer.
Finally, Arby’s manager did not show up for work the next day. Expect him to change his story.
The offense report can be viewed here and the Pembroke Pines Police Department Media Release here, both in pdf.
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