Facebook post claims officer refused service in Athens; Taco Bell disputes

Facebook post claims officer refused service in Athens; Taco Bell disputes

ATHENS, AL (WAFF) - Valley residents are calling to boycott an Athens Taco Bell over a Facebook post that has garnered more than a hundred comments and shared hundreds of times. The post claims that Saturday, an Athens officer was refused service while in line at the Taco Bell on U.S. 72 near Interstate 65.

Many are now calling to boycott the restaurant. The post has gotten enough attention that Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson issued a statement regarding what happened:

On the morning of Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, an Athens Police officer went for an early lunch at Taco Bell on U.S. 72 near Interstate 65 in Athens. The officer waited alone at the counter for about five minutes and left when he did not receive service. The officer is not accusing Taco Bell staff of refusing to serve him, only that he did not receive service. The officer did not make a scene and simply opted to eat lunch elsewhere.
The incident garnered attention after a citizen posted about it on Facebook, and other Facebook users began to share it and speculate as to the reason the officer did not receive service and
asking the public to boycott. Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson was notified about the social media uproar on Sunday morning, Jan. 8. Chief Johnson talked to the officer and went to Taco Bell, where he met with managers and reviewed video footage.
"The managers were apologetic and are conducting their own investigation into the incident," Chief Johnson said. "At this time, it appears one member of staff may have seen the officer but did
not acknowledge him. I do appreciate Taco Bell's managers meeting with me and working to address the issue on their end. On behalf of the Athens Police Department, I am satisfied with allowing Taco Bell's managers to address this incident with their staff."

WAFF 48 requested a statement from Taco Bell. Here is the company's response:

Taco Bell and Tacala, the franchise owner of the Athens, Alabama Taco Bell, are deeply appreciative of law enforcement and would in no way endorse or accept behavior that would discriminate against them, or anyone else for that matter. Upon thorough investigation of surveillance video and employee statements, the franchisee has concluded that all four team members and the manager were in the kitchen area getting ready for the lunch rush and could not see the front counter, which is a lapse in protocol. Tacala has begun re-training its staff on proper customer service, and it has formally apologized to the police department for the misunderstanding.

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