Did a Dunkin' Donuts employee refuse to serve Baskin Robbins ice cream to two NYPD detectives because they were cops? Or were the detectives, as the manager of the Atlantic Avenue store told the New York Post, just “standing at the wrong counter”? The Detectives’ Endowment Association isn’t waiting for an investigation, and has already called for a boycott of the chain. And earlier today, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, told reporters that the clerk’s alleged refusal was “illegal” and “unacceptable.”
“I don't know the details and I wasn't there, but if it's what you describe, it's someone really being stupid and unfair to our police officers,” said the mayor, who was at NYPD headquarters to announce a slight decrease in the city’s overall crime rate.
"When you look at something like a huge decrease in the number of complaints against police officers, I think that tells us a hell of a lot more than some jerk at Dunkin' Donuts who wouldn't serve coffee,” de Blasio added.
“Someone at Dunkin' Donuts behind the counter can't refuse service to anyone. That's illegal, to begin with. So, that's unacceptable to me that anyone would do that. But I think the atmosphere in this city has been one of growing respect between police and community."
According to the Post’s law enforcement sources, the two detectives were trying to buy ice cream at the location at around noon on Sunday, and as they waited in line, the clerk took the order of a man standing behind them. When the customer told the clerk that the two detectives were ahead of him, the clerk allegedly replied, “Yeah, I know, but I don’t serve cops.”
The manager insisted it was all a misunderstanding:
A manager at the store disputed that account, saying: “These two men in shirts and ties — who I later found out were police — must have never come to this Dunkin’ Donuts before, because instead of waiting in the line where you order, they waited at the counter where you pick up your order.”
“You can see on the security tape: they stand here for five minutes, while other customers were being served. One customer even ordered ice cream, and they must’ve not like that because they left the store,” he added.
The manager, who wouldn’t give his name, wouldn’t let The Post view the video.
He also said the store “started getting phone calls from people saying they were police, asking, ‘Why didn’t you serve these officers?'”
“And I kept trying to explain that we serve everyone, we have nothing but respect for the police, and that they were standing at the wrong counter. It was busy at the time, and we were busy serving customers,” he said.
Asked why he chose to comment on the incident, when the mayor frequently declines to comment on other matters he’s unfamiliar with, de Blasio responded:
Because it's so strong a violation in my point of view. I mean, first of all, I've rarely heard anything like that. I think the days of people not serving anybody because of who they are generally are past us. There’s been some efforts in some states as you know to not provide service to people because they happen to be members of the LGBT community. Things like that. But as a general rule in our society today, it’s unacceptable to refuse service to anyone because of who they are. So that’s what I’m responding to. I think it’s pretty cut and dry.
A careful comment from Dunkin' Donuts posted on Twitter does not admit guilt, but states that the franchisee reached out to one of the detectives involved to "personally apologize for any negative experience he may have had in his store."
— Ethan Harp (@EthanHarpNews) August 3, 2017
Reps from Dunkin' Donuts and the Detectives' Endowment Association did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Dunkin' Donuts in question, located at 1993 Atlantic Avenue, did not answer their telephone.