OKLAHOMA (NBC News/TODAY) — Starbucks has fired an employee and issued an apology after an Oklahoma police chief said one of his officers was given a cup with the word “pig” printed on it.
The company issued a statement on Thanksgiving that it reached out to the officer and apologized after Johnny O’Mara, the chief of the Kiefer Police Department in Oklahoma, posted a photo of the cup on Facebook before eventually deleting the post.
“What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town,” O’Mara wrote on Facebook.
The incident occurred at the location in Glenpool, south of Tulsa, on Thanksgiving.
“This is absolutely unacceptable, and we are deeply sorry to the law enforcement officer who experienced this,” Starbucks said in a statement. “We have also apologized directly to him and connected with the Chief of the Kiefer Police Department as well to express our remorse.
“The Starbucks partner who wrote this offensive word on a cup used poor judgement and is no longer a partner after this violation of company policy. This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
The cup with “pig” written on it was given to one of O’Mara’s officers on Thanksgiving when he went to pick up drinks for the dispatch office members who were working on the holiday, O’Mara told NBC affiliate KJRH.
O’Mara added that the employee called the police department and apologized, saying it was supposed to be a joke shared with a coworker.
The police chief said in an appearance on Fox News Friday that he did not want the employee to be fired.
“I just recently learned that the employee was terminated, and this may be a bit surprising, but I would like Starbucks to reconsider,” he said. “It was a mistake. I’m asking for civility.”
Starbucks said in a statement Friday that it will be meeting with the Kiefer Police Department to put together “a jointly hosted Coffee with a Cop event at Starbucks where local law enforcement can meet with baristas and members of the community to discuss the critical role dispatchers and police offers play in keeping our communities safe.”
The incident is the latest one involving Starbucks and a local police department, as the company apologized this summer after a barista asked six officers to leave a store in Arizona on the Fourth of July because a customer didn’t feel safe.