MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Arby's has confirmed two employees have been disciplined following an alleged incident involving a Pembroke Pines Police Officer who claims she was denied service at the restaurant on Pines Blvd.
The fast-food chain said Thursday it had fired the manager and suspended a clerk indefinitely.
Arby's is now trying to make it right with law enforcement across South Florida.
One day after an employee and manager at a Pembroke Pines franchise created a brouhaha by joking around that they didn't want to serve a police officer because she was just that, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association called on all police officers nationwide to boycott the chain.
After being informed of the incident, Arby's Chief Executive Officer Paul Brown and Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Boatwright contacted Pembroke Pines Police Chief Dan Giustino to apologize on behalf of the organization. Both men assured the chief, "the employee's behavior was unacceptable and not representative of the company's values."
On Thursday, Brown offered an olive branch, or in this case a combo meal, to all the men and women in blue in the area.
Dear Miami Metro-area Police Departments,
Please accept our sincerest apology for the recent incident that occurred at our Arby's® restaurant in Pembroke Pines, FL. This isolated incident does not represent Arby's Restaurant Group (ARG) views and Arby's values. We appreciate all that you do, as well as the hard work and sacrifices of your fellow law enforcement officials in communities across America.
As a show of our appreciation and support, this Friday, September 4 we invite you to visit any of our restaurants in the Dade-Broward metro area to receive a free combo meal of your choice. Simply show up in uniform to receive your free meal compliments of your friends at Arby's.
CEO, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc.
Kenny Davenport said he was working Tuesday when Pembroke Pines Police Sergeant Jennifer Martin pulled up to the drive thru.
Davenport said that he couldn't serve Martin, but not because she's a police officer. He said it was because he was so busy with other customers that he had to ask his manager for help. Davenport said that's when his manager made the unfortunate joke to Martin about not being able to take her order.
"We don't hate cops," Davenport said. "We don't hate anybody. We're just trying to get people out of the drive thru."
According to a police report on the incident, the police officer was told by the manager, "(Davenport) doesn't want to serve you because you are a police officer."
After that, Martin said she wasn't certain she wanted to dine at the restaurant but the manager assured her everything was okay and handed the officer the food, according to the report.
The manager allegedly laughed about it and said Davenport was allowed to refuse to serve the officer.
That's when Martin said she was unsure about the condition of her food, decided not to eat there and asked for a refund, the report states.
Davenport's grandfather said believes the episode is being blown out of proportion. He said that he and his grandson, whom he raised, have respect for the police. He believes the whole thing is centered on a dumb joke gone awry.
On Thursday night, following his grandson's suspension, McCutcheon said he wants both sides to talk it out.
"I think if the police person, Martin I believe it is, sat down and reasoned through this, we would not be here now and we would not be having this conversation."
McCutcheon said he raised Kenneth Davenport to be respectful, and he's now worried about his future job prospects.
"This is a 19-year old son, grandson, who has to move forward in life," he told CBS 4's Lauren Pastrana.
He said Davenport will likely enroll in classes at Broward College next semester and possibly enlist in the military.
"I want a letter stating that they were wrong by mentioning his name in the report," McCutcheon said. "I want my grandson to be exonerated of all this misunderstanding and be able to go forward in life without having to look over his shoulder.
The fired manager, Angel Mirabal, said over the phone he thought his termination was unfair and that he was sad about it.
He said he had worked at Arby's for 2 years, and he too is worried he won't be able to find other employment.
CBS4 asked a police spokesman whether the department planned to meet with all parties involved.
He said no such meeting was in the works and that the chief considered this a closed matter and would not be commenting further.
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