Dunkin' Donuts Worker Refused to Serve Officer Involved in Tamir Rice Shooting and Got Fired

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The Cleveland Police Union, distended with moral righteousness, is pleased as punch that the Dunkin' Donuts on W. 117th Street has fired a worker who, in their view, did not perform his job appropriately.

“It’s pathetic this attitude is out there," said Union president Jeff Follmer, in reference to the Dunkin' worker who refused to serve officer Frank Garmback an iced coffee. "We’re grateful the manager handled it the way he did.”

How the manager handled it was to promptly fire the worker and reach out to the nearby First District Police Station, presumably with an apology. (Free donuts, perhaps?) 

Local investigator Ed Gallek, in his report for the Fox 8 I-Team (above), said the worker's refusal to serve Garmback had nothing to do with Garmback's role in the Tamir Rice shooting. Garmback drove the cruiser. His partner, Timothy Loehmann, shot and killed the 12-year-old Tamir at Cudell Rec Center. The unnamed Dunkin' worker evidently told Garmback that he "didn't serve cops," a comment he later said was a joke. 

The report was presented, however, as further evidence that Garmback and his family are "still dealing with the fallout" from the shooting. That fallout included, officially, a 10-day suspension for Garmback. Loehmann was fired for an unrelated matter. Atmospherically, though, the fallout includes ongoing tensions between officers and the communities they police. 

The irony is the Union's satisfaction with the dismissal of a low-wage worker whose actions — whether for humor or on principle — resulted in the minor delay of a police officer's cup of coffee. It's worth noting that the news tip to Fox 8 in all likelihood originated from the cops themselves, so they can take credit for putting another young man out of work.

It's disingenuous for Fox 8 or the police, then, to bemoan the "fallout" of the Tamir Rice shooting while demanding respect from historically abused populations on pain of termination. This is especially ironic when on-the-job infractions result in no meaningful consequences for police officers; or else the consequences are fiercely and blindly challenged by the Union, with frequent success.

The actions of Loehmann and Garmback, we recall — whether an outgrowth of poor tactical training or deeply embedded racism — resulted not in a delayed coffee order but in the death of a child. 

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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