The manager of an NYC Shake Shack has filed a lawsuit against NYPD Unions for falsely accusing him of serving poisonous milkshakes to three officers.
In the complaint filed Monday, Marcus Gilliam, 28, the manager of the Fulton Center Shake Shack, says he was arrested and grilled for hours after being falsely accused of spiking the shakes of three cops with bleach in June 2020, reports NY Daily News.
He accused the Police Benevolent Association and Detectives’ Endowment Association of staining his reputation.
Since Gilliam doesn’t know the officers’ names, his lawsuit referred to them as “Officer Strawberry Shake,” “Officer Vanilla Shake,” “Officer Cherry Shake,” “NYPD Sergeant who stated When Did You Add the Bleach” and “NYPD Sergeant Who called in ESU.”
The lawsuit claimed that three officers, who were on “protest duty” following the murder of George Floyd last year, ordered three milkshakes, one strawberry, one vanilla and one cherry, around 7:30 p.m. on a mobile app. They turned up at the shack sometime later to collect their drinks.
However, after sipping the shakes, the officers complained that their shakes did not taste right. So, they discarded the drinks in trash.
Following this, Gilliam apologized and gave the cops vouchers for free food and milkshakes. “But the officers falsely informed their sergeant that Mr. Gilliam had put a toxic substance, possibly bleach, in their milkshakes. This snowballed into a major investigation,” the lawsuit alleges.
Gilliam says he was arrested without cause and detained for six hours. He was taunted by detectives “about putting bleach in the milkshakes” despite them knowing he’d done no such thing.
“No reasonable police officer would have believed that there was probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for any crime,” states the filing in the Southern District of New York.
According to the lawsuit, since the orders were placed online, the workers couldn’t have known the customers were cops. They also couldn’t have poisoned the drinks after the officers arrived, because they were packaged and waiting for pickup.
Despite that, the officers informed their sergeant that Gilliam had poisoned their drinks, the lawsuit alleged.
At least 20 cops descended on the Shake Shack to question Gilliam and his co-workers, the filing says.
The lawsuit claimed that an NYPD lieutenant sent an email to the Police Benevolent Association and Detectives’ Endowment Association, falsely claiming the officers fell ill after drinking the shake. However, the officers did not show any symptoms of poisoning.
“Investigators who tested the discarded drinks also found no evidence of any toxic substances,” said the court document.
The Police Benevolent Association took to Twitter then, calling it a deliberate attack.
Police later clarified that there was “no criminality” by Shake Shack workers and that the “machine used to make the officers’ shakes at the Fulton Center Shake Shack had not been properly cleaned.”
Due to the incident, Gilliam “was caused to suffer economic injuries, violation of his civil rights, emotional distress, anguish, anxiety, fear, humiliation, loss of freedom, economic damages, legal expenses and damages to his reputation and standing within his community,” the filing says.