Oklahoma City, OK - An Oklahoma City police officer is suing Taco Bell in federal court over an incident where he says employees tampered with his food, causing injury.
In February, Oklahoma City Police Officer Shawn Byrne had just finished volunteering at an event at Putnam City Baptist Church, when he decided to stop at Taco Bell at Hefner & Rockwell for lunch. Officer Byrne was in uniform at the time when he ordered a steak quesadilla.
Officer Byrne said that the quesadilla didn't taste quite right, according to News Channel 4.
“By the time he took the third bite, apparently, was whenever his mouth started burning really, really bad,” his attorney Brian Dell said.
The burn was so bad, that Officer Shawn Byrne went to the hospital the next day. He says that he discovered that he had severe burns on his throat.
The officer filed a police report and had the uneaten portion of the quesadilla tested.
“The Department of Agriculture said there was an extremely hot pepper sauce on the sandwich and there was cologne in the sandwich also. Shawn does not wear cologne,” Dell said.
Officer Byrne said that the employees, who are convicted felons, were laughing as he got his food.
“There’s the possibility they wanted to deliberately cause some harm or play a trick, if you will, on a policeman,” Dell said.
The police department said that they thoroughly investigated the case and sent it to the DA, who declined to file charges.
“If indeed these convicted felons did it deliberately, then you have to assume that’s exactly why they did it. They’d get away with it because it wouldn’t cause the injury it did, it caused serious injury,” Dell said.
Officer Shawn Byrne has filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $75,000 in damages from Taco Bell.
In an interview, one Taco Bell worker allegedly admitted that straight chipotle, instead of quesadilla sauce, was put on the sandwich, according to Brianna Bailey with The Oklahoman. Bailey said that she reached out to Taco Bell Corporate and they didn't respond.
Taco Bell franchises have a history of appropriately disciplining employees who are disrespectful to law enforcement or tamper with their food. It's not clear if any of the involved employees in this incident faced any discipline.
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