Last week, a North Carolina barbecue joint found itself in the crosshairs of a Raleigh police union and, by extension, police supporters as a whole after employees supposedly disrespected officers dining. Guess what? The union pretty much made up the whole thing.
According to a Facebook post by the Raleigh Police Protective Association, the incident involved the employees and manager of a Smithfield’s Chicken ‘n Bar-B-Q harassing officers dining with a rendition of NWA’s 1988 hit “Fuck tha Police.” On Wednesday, however, police confirmed that no such incident occurred.
“Despite media reports, two officers witnessed one employee make eye contact with them and mouth the words ‘F... the Police,’” said the Raleigh Police Department in a statement. “There was no singing. There were no other employees involved. Because of the subtle nature of this act, it was not witnessed by anyone else in the store.”
After the union’s post went viral last week, the restaurant’s Yelp and Facebook pages were flooded with racially charged and often threatening comments, many from people who had never set foot in the state. Commenters were directed to Smithfield’s pages after the RPPA post was unquestioningly signal-boosted by Fox News and police news sites like lawofficer, bluelivesmatter, and leoaffaris. None of them have since updated their posts to reflect that the incident was pure fiction.
David Harris, that franchise location’s owner, responded quickly to the tide of abusive comments, promising a “thorough investigation” and to terminate potentially offending employees. It didn’t stop cops, relatives of cops, people who like the idea of cops, and bandwagoning racists from jumping into the comments of all of Smithfield’s recent Facebook posts. Here’s a small sampling:
The RPPA’s original post, which tagged the restaurant, has since been deleted, replaced with a non-apology:
Just last month, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD’s Shooting Review Board determined Officer Brentley Vinson was justified in using deadly force against Keith Lamont Scott, whose death sparked massive protests last year as yet another addition to the unfortunate, totally avoidable history of police killing black people in their communities. How anyone could harbor resentment against these departments, however, remains a mystery.
We’ve reached out for comment from the RPPA and will update if we hear back.