Des Moines, Iowa — “We’re not going to serve you today.”
That is the greeting Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department says he was given on Saturday morning at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 1220 SE 14th Street. Parizek opened up about the experience on Tuesday morning on KXNO’s “Morning Rush” radio show, co-hosted by his wife, Heather Burnside.
Parizek says in the intervew that he was out of uniform but was wearing a ‘blue line’ hat when walked up to the counter on Saturday morning. Parizek says he is a regular customer at that location, has been for years and is known to be a police officer. Parizek says two to three customers were working when he walked up to the counter. One employee stepped forward to inform him no one at the restaurant was willing to serve him.
Parizek tells ‘The Morning Rush’ he left the restaurant without incident and contacted Dunkin’ Donuts management. He says he’s angered not by the confrontation, but about the ramifications of it for others. Parizek says he doesn’t drink their coffee, but often brings food from the restaurant to his wife and friends.
“No one can guarantee me they haven’t been doing something to those products these last four months,” Parizek said in the interview, referencing his role as a spokesman for the police department during the protests over racial injustice this summer.
Parizek says he has heard from Dunkin’ Donuts and has been assured this was an isolated incident involving two employees, and is not indicative of the feelings of local management or the company as a whole. Parizek says he didn’t initially want to publicize the story and certainly didn’t want anyone to lose their jobs. He says he wants an explanation from those who denied him service, something he hasn’t received.
Dunkin’ Donuts did respond to our request for comment with this statement:
“We are aware of the incident that took place at the Dunkin’ restaurant, located at 1220 E 14th Street in Des Moines, IA. The employee’s behavior is not consistent with Dunkin’s goal of creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all our of guests. Additionally, Dunkin’ respects the efforts of our police force as they work to maintain a safe community for all of us. The franchise owner, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, informs us that the two individuals responsible have been terminated. The franchise owner has also connected with the police officer to apologize for the experience.”
Parizek says he accepts the company’s statements and he isn’t calling for anyone to boycott any Dunkin’ Donuts locations. However he says he won’t patronize that specific location again.
“As recently as Tuesday one of the young ladies in their took cash money out of my hands to go into her pocket and then Saturday decides ‘Well, you’re a racist cop and we’re not going to serve you.’”, Parizek said in the KXNO interview, “Not cool.”
You can listen to Parizek’s full interview on the incident at Dunkin’ Donuts online here.