In Texas, an employee was let go from the fast-food chain Whataburger for refusing to serve two police officers.
The woman claimed that her boyfriend had been assaulted by cops during his arrest; therefore, she would not be serving police officers. The employee then proceeded to curse at them. The only response given by the manager on duty was, “I don’t get into politics.”
According to the police chief in that area, the woman’s boyfriend was actually arrested without incident. So her valiant stand against serving police officers hamburgers was all for naught.
I don’t really understand the nationwide police officer hatred that has gripped the United States in recent years. I know there are conversations happening around police brutality, which are important, but the everyday act of grabbing a bite to eat doesn’t really strike me as a platform to address racial injustice. I’ve never agreed with bringing politics into the workplace.
While I support freedom of speech, I think it’s very counterproductive to force speech upon those who don’t wish to hear it. This goes for NFL kneelers and fast-food workers alike. Taking a stand against police officers should be done off the clock.
The most troubling aspect is the fact that the manager didn’t feel the need to react accordingly to this disrespectful employee. Opting to refrain from getting into politics is one thing, but this attack on customers crossed over into something else. The manager should have intervened on the spot and diffused the situation.
That manager should also have been let go, along with the employee, for remaining complicit. Instead, the company gave them a slap on the wrist and announced they will implement further training for all members of their staff. It’s worrisome that someone in a management position didn’t take action while the police officers were being harassed.
The police chief in Denison, where the incident occurred, released a statement condemning the behavior of the Whataburger employee. He stopped short of identifying the exact location, which was later made public by another Denison police officer.
According to Chief Jay Burch, “I guarantee you when they call 911 and need us, we’ll come running. That’s what cops do.” The branch of Whataburger supposedly reached out to the police department and apologized for the treatment officers received at their location.
This anti-police rhetoric has created such a divisive atmosphere within the United States that police officers aren’t even safe grabbing something to eat while on duty. Whatever happened to simply making donut jokes and going about our merry way? This treatment from citizens is troubling, and even more so when it’s being carried out against those who are employed to protect and serve.
I understand frustration that some may feel, but there are ways to channel concerns without refusing food to paying customers. Becoming involved in communities, attending town hall meetings, voting, writing congressmen, and volunteering are just a few examples of how not to get fired from Whataburger for protesting against police.
Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.
Last Modified: October 23, 2017, 8:40 am