After an Arby’s employee refused service to a police officer, pro-cop protester arrived to denounce them. However, when the restaurant hypocritically called the authorities on the demonstrators, local police had an unexpectedly brilliant response.
When Pembroke Pines Police Sgt. Jennifer Martin walked into a Florida Arby’s, she was taken aback by the cashier’s behavior. Instead of ringing up her order, 19-year-old Kenneth Davenport refused to run her credit card and called over the supervisor. It was then that 22-year-old manager Angel Mirabal explained to Martin that “he doesn’t want to serve you because you are a police officer,” which Davenport later claimed was a joke taken out of context, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Understandably, Martin was offended by the allegedly discriminatory treatment and publicly raised her concerns. Immediately, the community rallied behind her and the Pembroke Pines Police Department and refused to sit by while the employees got away with their supposed abuse.
Outraged by the suspected repudiation of a law enforcement officer, families gathered outside of the Arby’s in Pembroke Pines, organizing a protest to demand action from the restaurant’s headquarters. Apparently annoyed by the peaceful demonstration, Arby’s employees called the same police department to deal with the nearby dissenters.
What they didn’t expect was just how the responding officers would handle the protesters. Instead of ticketing the protesters or forcing them to vacate the area, Pembroke Police officers handed them ICEEs to show their appreciation for the pro-cop demonstrators.
“A police officer was disrespectfully denied service at an Arby’s restaurant due to her profession…” Blue Lives Matter wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately for the employees, a group of kids decided to exercise their right to freedom of speech and protest in front of the store! Eventually, the same employees called the police for assistance… The police handled the situation accordingly by rewarding these peaceful protesters with ICEEs! #BlueLivesMatter.”
Unsurprisingly, the protesters were allowed to continue their demonstration, per the First Amendment. Police officers thanked attendees for their support and explained to the Arby’s employees that the dissenters are not breaking the law in any way and, therefore, cannot be removed.
As for the Arby’s employees, Davenport and Mirabal were eventually fired from their positions. However, Davenport maintains that the comment made by his manager was a joke gone wrong and that he was merely trying to serve others before he could get to Sgt. Martin. He claims that he only called over Mirabal to help with customers, adding that the manager made the statement in jest.
“We don’t hate cops,” Davenport told reporters. “We don’t hate anybody. We’re just trying to get people out of the drive-thru.”
Sgt. Martin was satisfied with the action taken by Arby’s headquarters, including an immediate apology from corporate executives. Still, Davenport and his family insist that he should not have been terminated from his job, adding that he’s just a “shy kid” who is trying to work for a living.
Whether or not the employees truly discriminated against the police officer remains unknown. However, the reality is that no matter how annoying or disadvantageous peaceful protesters may be, they are constitutionally protected in demonstrating their right to dissent.