All it took was one Facebook post, from the Raleigh Police Protective Association, to set off a firestorm. The post claimed that when a group of Raleigh cops dined at Smithfield’s Chicken ‘n Bar-B-Q last week, they were met by employees of the restaurant singing NWA’s “Fuck tha Police.” The backlash against the restaurant—and its employees—was swift and, frankly, pretty racist. From Gizmodo:
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 are some of the posts:
There’s just one problem. It didn’t happen. From a press release police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown sent out this afternoon:
“Despite media reports, two officers witnessed one employee make eye contact with them and mouth the words ‘F… the Police.’ 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.
Ultimately, the Raleigh Police Department, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q and our whole community were victims of misinformation and misunderstanding causing the original reporting of the story to be wrong.”