Uniformed Officer Kicked Out Of Outback Steakhouse For Having A Gun

A uniformed Tennessee officer was asked to leave an Outback restaurant because he was carrying his duty weapon.

Cleveland, TN – A uniformed Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officer said that Outback Steakhouse management asked him to leave the Cleveland restaurant on Friday night, because he refused to remove his duty weapon from their “gun free zone.”

TWRA Officer Andrew Ward explained the interaction in a Facebook post, and called the situation “a first.”

“While I was at work tonight (in uniform) I stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat supper with my wife,” he wrote in the post. “I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform.”

Officer Ward said that the manager left for a moment to go make a phone call, but then soon returned to his table.

“We were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone,” Officer Ward wrote.

The officer defended the manager in his post, and seemed to recognize that she was delivering a message that was made by someone above her pay grade.

“I don’t blame the manager...but this is ridiculous and we will never go back there ever again,” Officer Ward continued. “What is this country coming to? A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm! I am disgusted and have no other words!!!”

Approximately two hours later, Officer Ward posted an update on the situation.

“The manager has apologized...and stated a lady sitting next to our table felt scared for her life!” the officer wrote. “She said police are shooting people and she could have gotten shot in the parking lot and the manager had to walk...her and her husband to their vehicle.”

“Seriously she was scared for her life?” Officer Ward asked. “We were joking and laughing with our server as we ordered then prayed. What was scary about that?”

In addition to her apology, Officer Ward said the manager told him he would be receiving a $100 gift card, redeemable at multiple restaurants.

"We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their side arms inside our restaurants,” Outback’s parent company, Bloomin Brands, said in a statement to WTVC. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”

“The amount of support our community has shown us is truly humbling,” Officer Ward said in a final post on the matter. “Outback has called and apologized to me and my family and we have truly accepted this apology. There was a mistake made and that’s it... we all make mistakes...and must move forward with our lives.”

"I have spoken with the manger involved, the regional manager and the Vice President of operations for Outback today,” the officer told WTVC in a text message.

“They have apologized profusely and I have accepted their apology and the issue in my opinion has been concluded,” he said.

Do you think that this incident will negatively affect your opinion of Outback Steakhouse? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

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Comments (71)
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CopsKidTwo
CopsKidTwo

No, informing the public that this insanity is going on is a good idea. Otherwise, we would be assuming that common sense ruled throughout the nation. Sadly, it is not. What kind of law-abiding individual would really claim that they're in fear of their life when an officer is sitting with his wife laughing and joking with the server? Talk about a petty snowflake who sounds like they either need to grow up, stop committing crimes, or go into therapy for their irrational response to an armed officer just being near them. I sure hope if a bad guy with a gun walks ever walks in, the manager can politely tell the perp that Outback is a gun free zone, and the bad guy will leave. Cause that's what all bad guys would do, right? These establishments claiming to be "gun free zones" are in actuality "Intelligence free zones." I plan on avoiding them. If they turn away officers, it's an even bigger reason to avoid them. I want someone to be able to fight back if a bad guy were to walk in with his gun.

cayman2020
cayman2020

I would have the snowflake to leave.

Mango
Mango

Too bad for the brainwashed lady customer. Personally, I would have enjoyed my meal more knowing that the officer was there.

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

Ok does that mean when they are called to the restaurant for police business, they take their guns off or maybe because it is a gun free zone they don't go in at all These are some question that came to mind Show me the facts or rules on this situation

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

No, the snowflake is the scared for their life complainer, I am glad the word is out, not that I would ever eat that garbage but now I wouldn’t go there just because of this! Clown

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

Maybe the brain dead businesses should advertise whether or not law enforcement can carry their weapons and let the customer decide

g72tinyh
g72tinyh

This guy sound like a professional s disturber. He is a wildlife officer not a police officer. What reg says a wildlife officer must carry outside of the state park? If he is on duty than get your a back in the park. He starts "While I was at work..." Tax payers paying him to leave the park and eat dinner? Non gov tax payers eat with family after work and pack a lunch.

libbie
libbie

It is all good. I was a little upset at first but outback did good. I have never been afraid of Cops so I am surprised when people are.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

You sound like a professional idiot, who said he was “park ranger” wildlife officers don’t work in a park, he works in the state, and has law enforcement authority throughout the state enforcing wildlife laws. You’re An idiot.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

I have in the past and would pay for the officers dinner. It's rewarding to do something for someone else as a thank you for all they do.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@libbie "I have never been afraid of cops, so I'm surprised when people are."

This statement could be the start of VERY productive conversation. You stated your thoughts, then implied that others might not share them.

And believe me, those that don't maintain 100% unwavering trust in those directed to serve and protect wish we could, badly.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Szrudy3 no, stop imagining what you thought I said and read what I said.

It's a snowflake move to run to the press with this, instead of just not going there anymore.

crash972
crash972

Gun free zone. My family won't be eating there anymore.

mcoop
mcoop

once again a snowflake was offended and the world bows to there wishes and stops the world so they can get off in their safe space

Wlo487
Wlo487

First of all you need to get your facts straight. Wildlife officers Are Not Park Rangers. They have state wide authority on private lands and public lands. They usually have statewide authority and are peace officers with full arrest authority. With that said most wildlife law enforcement agencies pay their officers during their meal breaks just like a police department. They're still one call away from having to walk away from lunch or dinner.

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

I have met officers of the law of all kinds. I want to know who has these stupid rules, I don' want to give them a dime nor do I want to be robbed Stop pretending you are the only one with knowledge/ One of the rules that they do not enforce is the one saying , no drugs,

JTYLER5
JTYLER5

Outback is off my list of restaurants...and I was going to be going there this week to get theyr $15.99 steak & lobster tail. They won't miss my $15.95, but I hope a lot of people will give Outback no business. A police officer is exempt...and can go into any building. I have a license to carry, but I'm not able to go into any restaurant that has a NO FIREARMS sign on the door. Not allowed in a police stations with a weapon...post office and a few other places like schools, but cops are authorized to go anywhere...even schools...with their gun strapped on. Wait until an incident happens in one of these places...and nobody is there to protect the others from harm. I'd rather have an armed cop in any business.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Szrudy3 say that again? I didn't understand.

GMMiller
GMMiller

Why because snowflakes like you are afraid of the truth?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@GMMiller that doesn't make sense.

What I said was, if cops are treated badly somewhere, they should not go. The cops acted like snowflakes by going to the press.

Your answer for that was "because I'm afraid of the truth?"

Read what I wrote again and answer in proper context.

Supportblue2nd
Supportblue2nd

Im a supporter of our Police,Military and the 2nd Amendment! These snowflakes need to get a life.It is ok for him to carry if he were protecting her though.It is because of people like that we wre no able to protect ourselves in public areas!

AngryOldMan
AngryOldMan

CrazyD 4th Point of Contact. Legs wont get that lol. Outback made good on it. Im more interested in what was left out of the story particularly the woman 'who feared for her life'. Thats your instigator and I suggest theres more to that being purposely ommited