uniformed Assumption Parish deputies say they were denied service at a Burger
King in St. Francisville.
St. Francisville, LA – The Assumption
Parish Sheriff’s Office says that a Burger King owner demanded that they issue
a press release absolving his business of wrongdoing, after two uniformed
Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputies were denied service at the restaurant.
The two deputies had just completed a
long day of SWAT training in Zachary and were traveling home on May 17, when
they decided to stop off at the Burger King restaurant in St. Francisville,
Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office Public Information Director Lonny Cavalier
told Blue Lives Matter.
The deputies saw employees working
inside the store, and pulled around the back of the business to the drive-thru
lane in their marked patrol vehicle.
“They sat there for an extended
period of time before someone finally let them order,” Director Cavalier
But when one of the deputies ordered
a chicken sandwich, the female inside cut him off.
“We’re out of chicken,” she said
The deputy began to order a Whopper
instead, but was interrupted by a male’s voice.
“We’re out of burgers, too,” the
The deputies then asked the employees
if the items were out of stock, or if they just didn’t serve police officers.
“The only response was laughter,”
Director Cavalier said.
The shocked deputies waited at the
drive-thru speaker, but when the employees continued to ignore them, they
pulled ahead to the payment window.
They parked for a moment, then one of
the deputies exited the patrol vehicle and stuck his head inside the window to
speak with someone.
“He could hear them inside laughing,
but no one would come to the window,” Director Cavalier explained.
The deputies then left the
restaurant, and later told their supervisors about the encounter.
“They were embarrassed and
humiliated,” Director Cavalier told Blue Lives Matter. “This is new for us.
We’ve not had that kind of relationship with any vendors, ever.”
Director Cavalier said that he
contacted Burger King’s corporate office several times, but that “nothing ever
came of it.”
Undeterred, the director wrote a
letter to the editor of The Bayou
Pioneer and outlined the treatment the deputies had received at the
Burger King restaurant.
“What is troubling is that these same
Burger King employees, in the event a robbery was occurring at the time, would
have expected these two deputies to take a bullet for them, and those deputies
would have,” Director Cavalier wrote in the published letter. “Now we’ll wait
and see how the Burger King Corporate Office responds.”
Director Cavalier received a call
from the St. Francisville store owner approximately one week after The Bayou Pioneer printed his letter, he said.
“He was very angry. Very upset,” the
director recalled. “He said, ‘My employees never refused to serve any police
The store owner then alleged that
Director Cavalier’s story was an “outright lie,” and that the employees had
only refused to serve “people who just happened to be police,” he said.
“So, I asked him if they refused to
serve those specific officers, and he admitted that they did,” Director
Cavalier told Blue Lives Matter.
The director noted that the store
owner’s “play on words” was “virtually laughable.”
“All we were looking for was a fair
shake,” he said. “Not an excuse – just an explanation.”
Director Cavalier said that the
department never asked for the employees to be fired, but that they simply
didn’t want to see other officers treated in the same manner.
The Burger King owner told him he had
already fired the employees involved and that he had other problems with the
same workers in the past, the director said.
In addition to the store owner’s
admissions about the events that transpired, he also confirmed that he had
store surveillance of what occurred, the director said.
“He said he won’t show it,” he added.
The franchisee claimed he had
attempted to contact Assumption Parish Sheriff Leland Falcon “multiple times”
since the allegations surfaced, but the sheriff had no missed calls or voice
messages from him, the director said.
According to Director Cavalier,
instead of apologizing, the Burger King franchisee demanded that the Assumption
Parish Sheriff’s Office issue a press release to retract the allegations
against his business.
He also wanted the agency to
apologize to his store.
“I told him, “Don’t wait, because
there will be no retraction,” Director Cavalier vowed. “I was dumbfounded.”
He said that the owner assured him he
would be calling back to discuss the issue further, but that he hasn’t heard
from him in the week since.
“If the employees were actually
terminated, that’s fine, but [the company] needs to make amends to their own
community,” Director Cavalier told Blue Lives Matter. “It’s a very nice town
and we don’t blame the town – we blame Burger King as a whole.”
At this point, the sheriff’s office
is just hoping that Burger King acknowledges what occurred, and that the
company works to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“They owe the department and their
own citizens an apology,” Director Cavalier said.
There was no answer when Blue Lives
Matter attempted to call the restaurant.
Blue Lives Matter reached out to
Burger King's corporate office for comment, but we have not received a response
by press time.