A Friendswood, Texas, police detective walked into an area Whataburger on Thursday for a delicious meal in the middle of his shift, only to be turned away for openly carrying his service pistol.
Now the cheeseburger chain has responded to the controversy.
According to KTRK-TV, the Friendswood Police Department said its detective was dressed in plain clothes with his service pistol at his side and his police badge on his belt next to his firearm, the standard uniform for detectives.
Whataburger policy states it will not serve customers who openly carry firearms into its restaurants, with the exception of police officers with ID.
However, despite having his police badge, employees at the Whataburger turned him away, citing the company's open carry policy. The detective reportedly showed a manager his badge, but was still turned away.
According to KTRK, the detective left the restaurant before the situation escalated.
Now, what is Whataburger saying?
In a statement, the restaurant called the incident "an unfortunate misunderstanding of our open carry policy."
The full statement read:
this was an unfortunate misunderstanding of our open carry policy, and we've talked to the detective to make this right. He was understanding, accepted our apology and said he plans to come back to Whataburger. Our company policy allows law enforcement with proper identification to open carry at our restaurants, and we'll be reinforcing this policy with employees through additional training.
We've also been in contact with the Friendswood Police Officers Association. We want to make it clear that this detective and all law enforcement are welcome in our restaurants and we're proud to serve them.
This isn't the first time Whataburger has found controversy over an employee refusing a police officer service. Last October, an employee was terminated after she refused to serve two Texas police officers.