A pair of police officers were allegedly taunted by staff and served hot sauce at a fast food restaurant in Shelby, North Carolina.
Two Cleveland County deputies, who have not been identified by the media, stopped at a Zaxby's restaurant for lunch July 10. The wife of one of the deputies wrote in a post online that her husband and his partner, who were both in uniform at the time, were mistreated by restaurant staff, WBTV reported.
"As they walked up to place their orders, the boys in the back cooking the food started yelling at them and calling them names," she wrote.
According to the post, the two officers ignored the insults and kept on ordering. When they sat down to eat their food, however, they reportedly discovered that it had been tampered with.
" ... [M]y husband realized [they] had put the hottest sauce possible on [his] wings - to the point where his food wasn't even fit to eat," the deputy's wife wrote in the post.
The sauce covering the deputies' food was reportedly so spicy, it burned to the touch, according to WSOC-TV.
Cleveland County Police Capt. Joel Shores said being a law enforcement officer does not elicit the same reaction today as it once did.
"Years ago, this profession was respected, it was honored," Shores told WBTV. "Now to get ridiculed, to be a target, to possibly get shot at, for little pay ... what's the motivation to be a police officer other than do it because your heart's in it to help the community?"
A spokesman for Zaxby's said the company's management has launched an internal investigation into the incident.
"It is our goal to always provide every guest with exceptional service," the spokesman said in an official statement, adding that management was "working quickly to resolve the issue."
Neil Glezen, the owner of the establishment where the heckling allegedly occurred, said he has been supervising the staff around the clock since the incident went viral online.
"Me, my team, my family, all take this incident extremely seriously," Glezen told WSOC-TV.
Some Shelby residents are reportedly refusing to eat at the restaurant until the incident is addressed.
"If it did happen, then the employees need to be fired on the spot," Tony Cleveland, a local resident, said.
Cleveland added that he believed the employees were angry about the fatal police shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana earlier in July.
"Stuff that's happened 100 miles away has nothing to do with your immediate community," Cleveland said.
Restaurant managers have not said whether the employees involved have been disciplined.