Jacksonville Beach Chief of Police Patrick Dooley sent a letter warning his entire police department after a local restaurant owner reportedly said that his staff spit in a law enforcement officer’s food.
Chief Dooley wanted officers to use extreme caution if they chose to dine at Cruisers Grill in Jacksonville Beach. Dooley’s letter says Cruisers owner Robert Handmaker had indicated that his employees have or will spit in law enforcement officer’s food.
“While I will not issue an order prohibiting patronization of Cruisers, please use caution for health and safety reasons if you choose to eat at this establishment,” Dooley wrote in the letter, published by Action News Jax.
Chief sent letter to entire Jax Beach police department Feb. 6 saying he became aware of claims that workers may spit in personnel's food pic.twitter.com/Kiirlu5aJf
— Brittney Donovan (@brittneydonovan) February 7, 2017
“I have been made aware for quite some time now that some of my employees have been spitting in officers’ food and now I know why, because you are all bullies,” Handmaker reportedly told an officer.
Handmaker reportedly made the spitting admission after officers rushed to his restaurant for a false fire alarm, according to a police report. Handmaker was apparently upset after officers said they couldn’t help him resolve a traffic citation he had received after being pulled over for an expired registration.
“I explained who I was, and he didn’t seem to care,” Handmaker reportedly told the officers of being stopped.
Officers said Handmaker repeatedly cursed at them during the false fire alarm and said, “Have a great day, (expletive),” as they left the business.
Handmaker, who owns all three Cruisers locations in Jacksonville, Florida, responded to Chief Dooley’s letter through a public relations representative.
“Cruisers Grill serves all customers with the highest level of service and integrity,” said the letter, Action News Jax reports. “For over 20 years, Cruisers Grill has supported our police officers and appreciates the opportunity to serve them and their families. No team member has ever engaged in inappropriate handling of food at any of our locations.”
Reaction to the news on social media has been harsh, with some residents calling Handmaker “disgusting” and others calling for his restaurant’s shutter.
A person claiming to be Cruisers Grill’s general manage denied the spitting allegations, as did someone identifying as a restaurant employee.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson