- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Winter Haven, Florida, said it “immediately” fired an employee who reportedly refused service to two police officers on Sunday.

Lake Alfred Police Officer Adam Leatherberry wrote on his Facebook page that he and Winter Haven Police Officer Geoff Price were denied service by a male employee who said he wouldn’t help police officers, WTSP, a local CBS News affiliate, reported.

“Hell no!” the employee reportedly said to his coworker. “‘I’m not serving them! You can… it’s the cops! I refuse to serve them!’”

Officer Leatherberry said he and Officer Price left the restaurant without buying anything, but not before snapping a picture of the employee.

That same day, the Tropical Smoothie restaurant posted on its Facebook page that the employee was fired immediately.

“Our company doesn’t tolerate any discriminate of any kind,” the statement said. “We have investigated into this case and terminated this employee immediately.

“This employee’s comment about the police officers was very disrespectful and absolutely unacceptable! We have always supported law enforcement and military. For the past years, our cafe has served to numerous law enforcements who has patronized our café,” it said. “We sincerely apologize for the misbehavior of our former employee. His comments about the police offers were very disrespectful and absolutely unacceptable!”

The store’s manager, Beth Lawrence, identified the employee as Jake Hadden, WTSP reported.

“I just sincerely want to apologize to the officers that were offended by this and hope that they will still come to our establishment,” she said.

Mr. Hadden said it had nothing to do law enforcement, but said he had grown frustrated when asked to take orders while he was trying to close out for the day.

“I shouldn’t have said it, but what’s done is done. There’s nothing I can do about it,” the former employee told WTSP. “I just hope people can forgive me.”

Officer Leatherberry said he accepted the apology.

“Not everyone’s bad,” the officer said. “There’s certain people out there who don’t understand what all we deal with.”


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