A Starbucks worker in in Park Ridge, New Jersey, was "arrogant enough to be bragging about" spitting in the drinks of police officers, Chief Joseph Madden told NJ.com Tuesday — which led police to question him.
Police said Kevin A. Trejo, 21, admitted to the spitting, the outlet reported — and he lost his job and got the book thrown at him.
What are the details?
After his arrest Monday, authorities told NorthJersey.com Trejo's charges include subjecting a law enforcement officer to bodily fluid, purposely tampering with a law enforcement officer's drink, and creating a hazardous environment.
Park Ridge Police Capt. Joseph Rampolla told the outlet that "under the current COVID threat, it is extremely disturbing to think that someone would intentionally spit in your drink."
It wasn't known how many times Trejo allegedly spit in drinks or how many officers' drinks were tainted, NorthJersey.com said.
Officers who may have received the tainted drinks will be tested for the coronavirus, police told the New York Daily News.
The Park Ridge coffee shop historically enjoyed an amicable relationship with local police and hosted numerous "Coffee with a Cop" events, Rampolla added to NorthJersey.com.
"We believe this was an isolated act, but it does not remove the shock and disgust that our officers feel," Rampolla noted to the outlet.
Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, said in a statement that "officers risk their lives daily; it shouldn't be while getting coffee," NorthJersey.com added.
What did Starbucks have to say?
A Starbucks spokesperson called Trejo's actions "reprehensible" and said he's no longer employed by the company, NorthJersey.com reported.
"We will continue to support Park Ridge Police in their investigation and have a deep respect for the Park Ridge Police Department and the officers who help keep our partners and communities safe," the spokesperson added to the outlet.
The incident comes amid a growing anti-cop sentiment in many communities across the United States in the weeks since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day — but the New York City metropolitan area has seen a particularly long list of attacks on police:
- A frequent participant in Occupy City Hall protests in New York City was caught on surveillance video Friday afternoon allegedly trying to cut the brake lines of a police van in Brooklyn.
- NYPD officers were physically attacked on the Brooklyn Bridge last week by Occupy City Hall protesters, leaving one officer with multiple fractures of his orbital bones and cuts needing 12 stitches. And when NYPD Chief of Department Terrance Monahan intervened, court documents said the department's highest-ranking uniformed officer was punched in the face, too.
- And earlier this month cellphone video caught the moment an NYPD cop fought a gang member who apparently was interfering in an arrest. The gang member allegedly puts the officer in a headlock — and then the taunting began: "You just got smoked, p***y!"