Dunkin' Donuts fires 2 staffers for refusing to serve off-duty Iowa officer who sported a 'Thin Blue Line' cap
DES MOINES, IOWA: Dunkin' Donuts has found itself in hot water once again after two of its employees refused to service an Iowa police sergeant because he was wearing a 'Thin Blue Line' cap. Sgt. Paul Parizek, with the Des Moines Police Department, was in plainclothes when he went to the doughnut shop on East 14th Street Saturday morning. He had frequented the shop for almost two years, but won't be patronizing the outlet anymore after his experience.
For those who are unaware, the 'Thin Blue Line' symbol was initially a call of support for police officers on the frontline. It has since been adopted by counter-protesters at Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the nation.
Parizek recounted to KXnO The Morning Rush how he was stopped by one of the employees just before he could place his order. "We are not going to serve you today," the employee said, the officer recalled. "I said, 'Are you serious?' And she just kinda stared at me and I said, ‘What's going on?’ She said, ‘We're not gonna serve you today and you need to leave.’" When the sergeant inquired why, the employee reportedly looked at his hat.
Following the experience, Parizek spoke with the store's manager, the local franchisee, as well as the corporate office. He expressed concerns that someone at the establishment could have tampered with his drink. "No one can guarantee me they haven't been doing something to those products these last four months," he said.
“As recently as Tuesday one of the young ladies in there took cash money out of my hands to go into her pocket and then Saturday decides ‘Well, you’re a racist cop and we’re not going to serve you,'” Parizek explained in the KXNO interview, “Not cool.”
But while the officer has said he doesn't plan on returning to the location, he clarified he wasn't calling for a boycott on the chain. Dunkin' subsequently released a statement saying the employee, as well as another staffer, were no longer employed at the shop.
"We are aware of the incident that took place at the Dunkin' restaurant, located at 1220 E 14th Street in Des Moines, IA. The employees' behavior is not consistent with Dunkin's goal of creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all of our guests," the statement read, KCCI reported.
"Additionally, Dunkin' respects the efforts of our police force as they work to maintain a safe community for all of us," it continued. "The franchise owner, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, informs us that the two individuals responsible have been terminated. The franchise owner has also connected with the police officer to apologize for the experience."
This comes just days after the coffee-and-doughnut chain made headlines for another anti-cop episode. Authorities arrested 25-year-old Dunkin' employee Vincent J Sessler in Chicago last week after a trooper reportedly found “a large, thick piece of mucus” floating on top of his cup of black coffee.
Illinois State Police said in a press release how an Illinois State Police District Chicago trooper had purchased a large cup of black coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts shop at 6738 West Archer Avenue around 10.20 pm sometime last week. The officer had removed the lid in a bid to cool down the "extremely hot" coffee when he noticed “a large, thick piece of mucus, which was later confirmed to be saliva, floating inside it,” Fox News reports.
Sessler was arrested shortly before 1 pm on Friday, July 31. Authorities revealed that he had been charged with "disorderly conduct, reckless conduct, and battery to a peace officer" and was remanded in custody at the Chicago Police Department 8th District. “This is outrageous and disgusting. The men and women of the Illinois State Police put their heart and soul into protecting the lives and rights of all people in this state every day,” ISP Director Brendan F Kelly said in a statement. “They deserve better than this insulting and dangerous treatment. For their safety, ISP officers and employees will be prohibited from patronizing this location."