Chipotle Worker Fired for Writing 'I Can't Breathe' on Police Officer's Meal

A Chipotle worker has been fired from their job after a Colorado police officer was served a meal with "I can't breathe" written on the packaging.

The worker, who has not been named, was terminated following the incident at a fast-food restaurant on Youngfield Street in Wheat Ridge.

Although the food itself was not tampered with, a Wheat Ridge Police Department officer said the message on the packaging was "targeting them in a negative way."

The message is believed to be referencing the killing of George Floyd. The Minneapolis man was recorded repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" as officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes in May.

The incident sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter and police brutality protests, as well as calls for the defunding of police departments across the country.

There has also been outrage over the death of Colorado man Elijah McClain, who died last August after being placed in a chokehold by Aurora Police officers and administered ketamine by paramedics in an attempt to sedate him.

Demands for justice for the 23-year-old, including calls for criminal charges to be brought forward, went viral in the wake of Floyd's death.

In a statement to Newsweek, Chipotle confirmed the employee was fired over the apparent protest.

"Chipotle has zero-tolerance for any form of discrimination, and expects that all of its customers be treated with dignity and respect," said Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs and food safety officer

"The employee responsible for this incident has been terminated."

In a statement, Wheat Ridge Police Department spokesperson Sara Spaulding said the incident at the fast-food restaurant had been "upsetting" for the officer and the entire department.

"The protection and safety of our officers is one of our highest priorities, and as they work to protect our community, they should not have to wonder whether the food they are served is safe to eat or whether they will be treated any differently than others being served in an establishment," Spaulding said.

The Wheat Ridge Police Department added: "We know these are stressful times as our communities cope with the ongoing risks of the pandemic as well as the anxiety created by weeks of protests targeting police in cities across the country.

"While this single incident is disappointing and upsetting, despite the challenges of the past few months, we have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from the Wheat Ridge community, and for that we are extremely grateful."

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Facade of Chipotle restaurant in San Ramon, California, March 27, 2020. A Chipotle worker has been fired after a police officer was served a meal with “I can’t breathe” written on the packaging in Colorado. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty