Colorado police officer served Chipotle meal with ‘I can’t breathe’ written on packaging in 'negative targeting'

"This has been an upsetting incident for that officer and for our entire department," Wheat Ridge Police Department spokesperson Sara Spaulding said


                            Colorado police officer served Chipotle meal with ‘I can’t breathe’ written on packaging in 'negative targeting'
(Getty Images)

WHEAT RIDGE, COLORADO: A Colorado police officer was served a meal at a Chipotle outlet that had “I can’t breathe” written on its packaging. The name of the officer has not been revealed but reports said that the officer was from the Wheat Ridge Police Department; he was served the meal at a Chipotle location on Youngfield Street in Wheat Ridge. The food, however, was not tampered with, the cop said. The message written on the meal packaging referred to the May 25 death of African-American man George Floyd, who died in police custody after a Minneapolis officer allegedly knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes. One of the last things he said while the cop knelt on him was "I can't breathe", a phrase which has become a rallying cry against police brutality in protests across the country that have seen thousands coming out on streets demanding justice.

After the alleged incident, Wheat Ridge Police Department spokesperson Sara Spaulding said that the officer who was served the meal believed that the message on the package was "targeting them in a negative way." "This has been an upsetting incident for that officer and for our entire department," Spaulding said, adding the incident was "an inappropriate way" to voice their opposition.

"The protection and safety of our officers is one of our highest priorities, and as they work to protect our community, they should not have to wonder whether the food they are served is safe to eat or whether they will be treated any differently than others being served in an establishment," she said.

Chipotle is yet to react to the incident.

In a different statement, the police said: “We know these are stressful times as our communities cope with the ongoing risks of the pandemic as well as the anxiety created by weeks of protests targeting police in cities across the country. While this single incident is disappointing and upsetting, despite the challenges of the past few months, we have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from the Wheat Ridge community, and for that we are extremely grateful."

This comes after a Starbucks barista was arrested for allegedly spitting into the cups of multiple New Jersey police officers. A spokesperson for the company said that the barista, identified as Kevin Trejo, had been fired from his job. Condemning the actions of the 21-year-old worker, the president of the New Jersey Policeman Benevolent Association in a statement: “Every time I think we as a society hit bottom, there is a new incident. Officers risk their lives daily, it shouldn’t be while getting coffee.”

Trejo was charged with subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid, knowingly tampering with a cup of coffee that was ordered by an officer, and creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition. “Under the current COVID threat, it is extremely disturbing to think that someone would intentionally spit in your drink,” Capt. Joseph Rampolla said. While a spokesperson for Starbucks apologized to the Park Ridge Police Department saying: “This individual’s behavior was reprehensible and not at all a reflection of how our employees treat our customers on a daily basis. We want everyone who comes into our stores to receive a positive experience and when that doesn’t occur, we move quickly to address it and hold ourselves accountable.”

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