Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police reform and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department claimed that when he walked into a Des Moines Dunkin’ Donuts, he was met with the greeting, “we’re not going to serve you today.”
Speaking on KXNO’s Morning Rush radio show, which is co-hosted by Heather Burnside, his wife, he stated that he was not in his uniform at the time, but had on a “blue line” hat.
He stated that he had been a regular customer at that store for years, and that it was known he was a police officer.
He stated that there were 2 - 3 employees working when he approached the counter, and that one employee told him that no one was willing to serve him.
He left the restaurant and reached out to the Dunkin’ Donuts management.
Parizek stated that he didn’t take issue with confrontation, but rather the impact it had on others, since he often brings food from the outlet to his wife and friends. He stated that he personally never drinks their coffee.
“No one can guarantee me they haven’t been doing something to those products these last four months,” he said in the interview, referencing the recent protests over racial injustice.
He revealed that Dunkin’ Donuts reached out to him and assured him that it was an isolated incident involving two employees, but that it was not indicative of the feelings of local management or the company itself.
He maintained that he hadn’t planned on publicizing the incident, and that he didn’t want anyone to lose their job. However, he wanted an explanation from the employees, which he has not received.
Dunkin’ Donuts released a statement addressing the incident: “We are aware of the incident that took place at the Dunkin’ restaurant, located at 1220 E 14th Street in Des Moines, IA. The employee’s behavior is not consistent with Dunkin’s goal of creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all our guests. Additionally, Dunkin’ respects the efforts of our police force as they work to maintain a safe community for all of us. 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.”
Parizek stated that he wouldn’t go to that location again.
“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.'” he said in the interview, “Not cool.”