Chief Determines Now-Former Officer Lied About McDonald's Coffee Cup
Junction City, KS – The Herington police officer who claimed a McDonald’s employee wrote “f--king pig” on his coffee order lied about the incident and is no longer a member of the city’s police force.
“In [our] investigation we have found that McDonald’s and its employees did not have anything whatsoever to do with this incident,” Herington Police Chief Brian Hornaday told reporters on Monday, according to KDVR.
“This was completely and solely fabricated by a Herington police officer who is no longer employed with our agency,” Chief Hornaday said.
He referred to the incident an “obvious violation of…public trust,” and a “black eye for law enforcement” as a whole, FOX News reported.
“Our job is solely to do this job with the utmost integrity,” Chief Hornaday said, according to KDVR. “If you can’t trust the cops, who can you trust?”
The chief did not name the now-former officer, but said he is a 23-year-old military veteran who had been with the Herington Police Department (HPD) for just two months, FOX News reported.
He is not currently facing any criminal charges due to the incident.
“I truly hope that the former officer…that did this, I hope he understands the magnitude of the black eye that this gives the law enforcement profession from coast to coast,” chief Hornaday said, according to KDVR. “None of us can be excluded from that.”
McDonald’s franchisee Dana Cook said that she is “glad that the evidence confirmed our evaluation that McDonald’s and our crew members were absolutely not involved.”
“We took seriously our role to be transparent and fully cooperative with Chief Hornaday throughout his investigation, and we look forward to continuing a strong relationship with the department,” Cook added.
According to Chief Hornaday, the officer claimed that the photo of his cup that he texted to his police chief was “meant to be a joke,” KDVR reported.
Chief Hornaday expressed outrage about the incident in a Facebook post on Saturday.
The chief said that one of his officers stopped by the McDonald’s restaurant on South Washington just after 6 a.m. to pick up a cup of coffee, but when he returned to the station, he realized that someone had scribbled the words “f--king pig” on the side of his cup, WIBW reported at the time.
“Although I understand this is likely the act of one person and not a representation of the company, when it was brought to their attention the company offered him a ‘free lunch,’” Chief Hornaday’s post read. “No thank you. A Big Mac and fries don’t make up for it.”
The chief noted that the officer involved in the incident is a U.S. military veteran who deserves to be treated far better.
"This police officer has never met the McDonald’s employee," he told WIBW. "He has spent the last two months serving the citizens of Herington, visiting patients at Herington Municipal Hospital during Christmas who couldn’t be home for the holidays, participating in a Christmas give away at Herington Elementary School and many other positive things geared towards providing a positive future for the City of Herington."
Chief Hornaday said he spent time reviewing security footage at the restaurant on Saturday, but that it didn’t show anything conclusive.
“The video evidence did not show...whether or not an employee of McDonald’s had written that on the receipt,” he said, according to NBC News.
On Sunday, franchisee Dana Cook announced that she found more video footage, and that she was confident that none of her employees were responsible for writing the vulgar message, KSNT reported.
“My McDonald’s have the utmost respect for all members of law enforcement and the military and were troubled by the accusation made,” Cook told the news outlet. “We thoroughly reviewed our security video from every angle, which clearly shows the words were not written by one of our employees. We look forward to working with Chief Hornaday as he continues his investigation.”
After viewing that footage on Monday, Chief Hornaday agreed that the McDonald's employees had done nothing wrong.