NY Shake Shack Manager Sues Cops, Police Unions, For Defaming Him As Attempted Milkshake Murderer
After now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, the potential threat of the most bare minimum accountability made cops more paranoid than usual. They saw attempts on their lives in the darndest places, either in tampons that weren't tampons hidden in coffee beverages, the fast-food order that was slightly delayed during a pandemic, and even the all-American milkshake. Nowhere and nothing was safe for the nation's finest.
Last June, two
protection rackets police unions claimed that three New York City police officers were served “intentionally poisoned" milkshakes at a Manhattan Shake Shack. The reality was less diabolical: The cops didn't like how their shakes smelled or tasted. After throwing the shakes in the trash and whining to the manager, who apologized, the officers received free food and drink vouchers. However, this still escalated quickly, and soon the Shake Shack was a crime scene.
Marcus Gilliam, the 28-year-old manager at the Fulton Center Shake Shack, alleges in a federal defamation suit that he was falsely arrested and interrogated for hours while police leaders and their cronies recklessly claimed on social media that the cops were served milkshakes spiked with bleach.
You didn't need the investigate talents of Encyclopedia Brown to conclude that it wasn't possible for Gilliam or anyone at Shake Shack to contrive an assassination attempt via frosty beverage. The cops placed their orders through a mobile app and no one knew the milkshakes were intended for cops. They were already packed and waiting for pickup, so the cops couldn't reasonably believe anyone had the opportunity to taint the drinks when they arrived. However, it's often a stretch to put “reasonable" and “cops" in the same sentence.
None of these basic facts prevented Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, one of the worst people alive who's not Rudy Giuliani, from declaring that the officers came "under attack" from a "toxic substance, believed to be bleach." It wasn't bleach. It wasn't even a health code violation. Sources confirmed that the milkshake-producing machine "contained residual milkstone remover — a typically acidic solution used to combat buildup in dairy equipment."
The PBA tweeted: "When NYC police officers cannot even take meal without coming under attack, it is clear that environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level. We cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment."
And Detectives' Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo charged: "Tonight, three of our brothers in blue were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack at 200 Broadway in Manhattan."
This guy's the head of a detectives group and he's claiming, without actual proof, that Shake Shake employees tried to knock off police officers. It's enough to make you throw up, which is what an NYPD lieutenant falsely claimed happened to the officers after they drank the shakes they didn't even bother to preserve as evidence. When the fallen cops were rushed to Bellevue to treat their tummy aches, they were released without showing any symptoms of poisoning. They should have gone with the clammy hands if they wanted to skip work without winding up in the hospital.
When all this was finally cleared up, the police didn't apologize, as they are physically incapable. Instead, Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison announced that after "a thorough investigation by the NYPD's Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by Shake Shack's employees." This was after treating Gilliam like “he was a cop killer, basically," as Gilliam's lawyer, Eliot Shields, told the New York Daily News.
SHIELDS: They just jumped to this conclusion with no evidence. They tried to fit this episode into this false narrative of the police being under attack, and it was outrageous.
Gilliam doesn't know the officers' names, so his lawsuit identifies them as "Officer Strawberry Shake," "Officer Vanilla Shake" "Officer Cherry Shake," "NYPD Sergeant who stated When Did You Add the Bleach" and "NYPD Sergeant Who called in ESU." If it were me, I'd require in the settlement that these names appear on their badges for at least the next couple years.
The Shake Shack incident is especially absurd, but there are far too many cases of cops assuming everyone they meet is plotting their demise. In 2019, a sheriff's deputy in Indianapolis suspected that a McDonald's employee had tampered with his food when he noticed that a bite was missing from his McChicken sandwich.
This led to an investigation at the local McDonald's before the deputy realized that he'd actually eaten some of his sandwich and forgotten about it. The deputy presumably is still on the force and carries a firearm.
You'd almost think guilt was fucking with these cops, like in horror films when people move into a suburban house built on a Native American burial ground. Maybe blood is actually coming out of the faucets or maybe it's all in their head. Either way, it's peculiar.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."