Arby’s employee Kenneth Davenport, 19, has been placed on temporary leave after his manager joked to a police officer in the drive-thru that Davenport wouldn’t serve her because she’s a police officer, CBS Miami reports.
Davenport met with Arby’s CEO Paul Brown and other executives to discuss the incident which took place at the chain’s Pembroke Pines location in South Florida.
Davenport was working the drive-thru last week when Pembroke Pines police sergeant Jennifer Martin placed her order. The line was hectic, so Davenport asked manager Angel Mirabal for assistance. While handing Martin her food, Mirabal joked, “He doesn’t want to serve you because you are a police officer.”
When Martin expressed concern about this, Mirabal said it was a joke, but the damage was done. Martin, allegedly afraid at this point that her food may have been tampered with, requested a refund and a police group threatened to launch a boycott against Arby’s.
Though the scrutiny has surrounded Davenport, it is Mirabal who made the joke and Mirabal who has been fired.
Brown released the following statement:
As a result of our thorough investigation, we have terminated the manager and placed the crew member on temporary paid leave. This was a complex and difficult decision, but as a company that highly values trust and fairness, we ultimately found that the crew member was not involved other than to attempt to remedy the situation. We have reviewed our process and decision with the Pembroke Pines Police Department who made it clear they consider the case closed. Arby’s has a long tradition of championing the police in our communities across America and we look forward to continue to support and serve our law enforcement officials.
Thomas McCutcheon, Davenport’s grandfather, was not happy with the treatment his grandson was receiving and also met with Pembroke police to discuss the incident and to read the police report filed by Martin.
“I got what I came for. They apologized, done deal, taken care of,” said McCutcheon.
As an olive branch to police, on Friday they were able to go into any Arby’s in the Miami-Dade or Broward area and have a free meal.
Davenport may have had his name cleared, but when asked by CBS Miami why he didn’t try harder to explain what happened, his response spoke clearly to tensions between law enforcement, the Black community and the media.
“There’s no point in talking,” he said. “I’m 19. She’s an officer and I’m colored.”