Peoria, IL – The Peoria County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) is defending a local Hardee’s restaurant after a volunteer member of the department falsely accused the fast-food restaurant of refusing to serve him because he was wearing a “blue lives matter” bracelet.
The PCSO volunteer wrote about the alleged wrongdoing in a Facebook post on Thursday, according to the department.
"To all my brothers and sisters in blue do NOT go to the hardee's at Willow Knolls,” the accuser’s post read. “I was just refused service because I had a blue lives matter bracelet on!"
The post was shared widely, and led to a “series of threatening messages and phone calls” to the Hardee’s restaurant he named, PCSO said.
But when deputies investigated the incident, they learned that the volunteer lied about the whole situation.
“This post was COMPLETELY FABRICATED,” the PCSO declared on Friday. “Video and audio recordings detailing the interaction clearly showed there was no refusal of service and actually showed what [appeared] as friendly service to the person who made this post.”
The volunteer is no longer affiliated with the sheriff’s office.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said he has “personally apologized” to the Hardee’s employees and manager for any damage that the now-former volunteer caused.
“If anyone shared the previous social media post which is damaging to this business please share this as well in an attempt make this right,” the PCSO statement urged.
Despite having done nothing wrong, the Hardee’s restaurant has invited all uniformed PCSO employees to come to the restaurant for a free meal as a show of “good faith,” the department said.
“This was a very honorable gesture, especially when they did nothing wrong...#integrity,” the PCSO statement added.
The department’s post received well over a hundred positive comments from people who appreciated the way the restaurant management and PCSO handled the false accusation.
“That was a well written response and frankly one impressive way to handle this whole situation,” one commenter wrote. “Major kudos to Sheriff Asbell and the Management of Hardee’s. Way to work together as a community to handle this and work together. Well done all. Well done.”