CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has found that a local fast food worker has been fired for refusing to serve a Cleveland Police officer. You may recognize the officer’s name, since he found himself at the heart of the Tamir Rice shooting which made national headlines. However, there’s no indication that played a role in what happened at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop.
The incident happened Friday at the Dunkin’ Donuts on West 117th along the Cleveland-Lakewood border.
Officer Frank Garmback went to the counter in uniform and was turned away. His family spoke to FOX 8 for him. A relative told us, "I think I was outraged, and I was saddened for him. He wanted an iced coffee. Walked up to the counter and the gentleman told him, ‘I don't serve cops,’ and turned his back and walked away.”
If Garmback’s name sounds familiar, he drove the police car just before his partner shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Investigators ruled the shooting justified, but again, it made national headlines. Years later, it still strikes a nerve.
No mention of that case at the donut shop, but the officer and his family are still dealing with fallout from the Rice case. Then this.
The officer’s niece said, "He loves his job. He loves what he does. And it just broke my heart, him saying, ‘Someone refused to serve me because I was a police officer.'”
The owner of the shop says he fired the worker that day. Paul Patel told the I TEAM, "So I came in right away, and we got rid of him.” He added, when confronted, the worker tried to pass it off as a joke. Patel said, “That's not a joke. That's not a good joke. We can't tolerate jokes like that."
Officer Garmback works out of First District Police headquarters on the same side of town as that donut shop. Officers say lots of cops from the First District stop at that shop. The owner now plans to pay a visit to the police station to talk to those customers.
Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer said, “It’s pathetic this attitude is out there. We’re grateful the manager handled it the way he did.”
The officer’s family says, look at it the other way around, "What if they came on the scene for a robbery at the Dunkin Donuts and said, ‘Oh, no. I'm not helping you. I'm not protecting you.’"
We had no luck making contact with the worker just fired. The store owner said the worker recently ran into some trouble with the law, and he wonders if that may have led to what happened. The owner also said he already had been in the process of letting that worker go due to his legal troubles.