Deputies in uniform denied service at local Burger King, department says
ST. FRANCISVILLE – Two Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputies wearing a department uniform were denied service while visiting a St. Francisville restaurant recently.
The department’s public information officer, Lonny Cavalier, discussed the incident in a newspaper editorial and later with an internet blog followed by those in the law enforcement community.
Cavalier said the two deputies were attending a training seminar and stopped at the Burger King when they were not allowed to order.
Employees laughed, Cavalier said, through the drive-thru speaker when deputies asked if they could not get food because they were law enforcement.
Cavalier said the deputies were told they were out of food – from burgers to chicken – and received the snickering response when they asked for clarification.
“The only response was laughter,” he said.
Any discussion came after the deputies had to sit in their patrol car for a while before being greeted.
“They sat there for an extended period of time before someone finally let them order,” Cavalier told the Blue Lives Matter blog.
When one of the deputies tried to get the attention of employees at the window, they were ignored, Cavalier said.
“He could hear them inside laughing, but no one would come to the window.”
“They were embarrassed and humiliated,” Cavalier told Blue Lives Matter. “This is new for us. We’ve not had that kind of relationship with any vendors, ever.”
“What is troubling is that these same Burger King employees, in the event a robbery was occurring at the time, would have expected these two deputies to take a bullet for them, and those deputies would have,” Cavalier wrote in his editorial.
Cavalier told WBRZ, a man who identified himself as the restaurant owner demanded a retraction from the sheriff’s office and that service to various people had been denied, not just the two deputies and not just because they were deputies.
Burger King employees ignored phone calls from WBRZ Friday afternoon and when someone did answer, they hung up. After multiple attempts to get someone to answer the phone, an employee told WBRZ to call the owner and disconnected the line. Later calls also went unanswered.
Late Friday, Burger King corporate officials released this statement:
The actions of this Team Member do not reflect the values of our brand. The Team Member in question refused service to multiple Guests on that day, including two law enforcement officials. The Franchisee, who independently owns and operates this location, has confirmed that this individual no longer works for the organization. We’d like to sincerely apologize to the deputies for the poor experience and are grateful for everything they do to protect our communities.
The owner of the Burger King location in the center of the controversy, Joe Clements of Crown Restaurants, LLC., also issued a statement to News 2 late Friday.
I am aware of the incident at the Burger King in St. Francisville involving two Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Deputies not being served. Unfortunately, it also involved other Guests not being served. The actions of these team members do not reflect the values and beliefs of our organization, nor do they reflect the values and beliefs of the Burger King Brand. I have investigated the incident and have determined that certain team members refused service to multiple Guests in our drive thru, including the two Deputies, on that day. As a result, these individuals no longer works for our organization. I have met with Sheriff Falcon of Assumption Parish and expressed my sincere apology for the incident, and I have asked that he extend my apology to the two Deputies. We also extend our apology to any Guests that were inconvenienced as a result of the performance of these employees. Our goal is to provide friendly customer service to all of our customers.
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