Starbucks barista charged for spitting in New Jersey cops' drinks and bragging about it during interrogation
21-year-old Kevin Trejo was charged with subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid, tampering and creating a hazardous condition
NEW JERSEY: A Starbucks barista who allegedly spit into the cups of multiple New Jersey police officers has been arrested and charged. Speaking to McClatchy News, a spokesperson for the coffee chain confirmed that 21-year-old Kevin Trejo has also been fired from his position.
Trejo's actions were condemned by 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,” Patrick Colligan with the NJPBA said. “Officers risk their lives daily, it shouldn’t be while getting coffee.”
Speaking to NJ.com on Tuesday, Park Ridge Police Chief Joseph Madden said Trejo was “arrogant enough to be bragging” about spitting in the officers’ cups when police interrogated him. That said, it is still unclear how many officers had their drinks contaminated.
Nonetheless, Trejo was charged on Monday 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 told NorthJersey.com.
A spokesperson for Starbucks apologized to the Park Ridge Police Department, which confirmed it appeared to be an isolated incident. “This individual’s behavior was reprehensible and not at all a reflection of how our employees treat our customers on a daily basis,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Police chief Madden thanked management “for their sincere cooperation. We have had an extremely positive relationship with this business establishment and they have welcomed our community policing initiatives.
“We believe this was an isolated act but it does not remove the shock and disgust that our officers feel," he told The Daily Voice.
Earlier this month, a Five Guys restaurant in Daphne, Alabama fired and suspended employees who reportedly denied service to three police officers.
According to the officers, at least six or seven employees at the outlet turned their backs on them as they entered the franchise. “I’m not serving them," one of the employees reportedly remarked. The officers then left the restaurant to go to another diner.
"To clarify some misinformation that has been spread on social media, on July, 7th three officers of the Daphne Police Department entered the Five Guys restaurant in Daphne," police said in a statement. "The three officers became aware of the mask requirement. They returned to their vehicles to obtain masks. All three officers were wearing masks the entire time they were inside the establishment."
But the employees allegedly turned their back on the officers once they were back inside.
"The events that occurred while the officers were in the restaurant were unfortunate," the statement added. The said Five Guys outlet, located at the Jubilee Square shopping center, was subsequently closed to give additional training to its employees, Fox10 reported.
There have been several cases of police officer officers being persecuted after mass protests broke out across the country following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in police custody in May. Officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved in the arrest — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and JA Kueng — have also been charged with aiding and abetting murder. If convicted, all four officers face 40-year terms in prison.