Note: we are republishing this story in lieu of nationwide discussion regarding police reform and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
Following an alleged incident at a Five Guys restaurant involving three Daphne police officers, there are more questions than answers.
The allegations on social media went viral before any details could be verified, and the Daphne Police Department scheduled a press conference to address the incident.
However, at the last minute, the department issued a statement saying: “The Daphne Police Department appreciates the outpouring of support from our community and from supporters of Law Enforcement across the country. We also want to thank Five Guys on a corporate and local level. We have been working through this situation and there has been total cooperation. The Daphne Police Department does not think that the actions of a few employees represents Five Guys as a whole.”
“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. 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 of the establishment. The events that occurred while the officers were in the restaurant were unfortunate. We will continue to work with Five Guys on this matter towards resolution once all the facts are known,” the statement added.
People gathered outside the restaurant in Daphne to express support for the officers.
James Hartzog, who stated that his brother is a Daphne police officer, maintained that showing support was the right thing to do.
“Whether it's coming from people who saw something or employees in general, it doesn’t matter. Either way, police are people," he said.
Five Guys also addressed the issue, with corporate office issuing the following statement: “Five Guys and the Franchisee of the Daphne, AL location were made aware of reports that local Police Officers had been denied service by employees at that location. Five Guys and the franchisee are actively investigating the situation and are committed to getting to the bottom of it. However, no matter what the details are, we do not want these police officers, or any customer, to feel disrespected or slighted in anyway. We apologize to those officers and also want to make it clear that Five Guys and its franchisees are committed to fair, respectful, and equal treatment for all customers.”
The statement continued: “We will continue to investigate the matter. Additionally, if there are questions about masks, the three officers who entered the restaurant were wearing masks.”
Sources: NBC 15 News