Two Dunkin' Donuts Workers Fired for Refusing to Serve Iowa Police Officer

Two Dunkin' Donuts employees in Iowa have been fired for refusing to serve a Des Moines police officer.

Sgt. Paul Parizek, a spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department, said he was refused service after visiting the store at 1220 SE 14th St. over the weekend.

Parizek told KXNO's Morning Rush Show, co-hosted by his wife, Heather Burnside, that he is a regular customer at the Dunkin' Donuts and is known to be a police officer.

He said he was out of uniform on the day of the incident on Saturday morning, but was wearing a blue line hat.

"I said, 'Are you serious?'" he said while describing the moment the workers said they will not be serving him. "And she just kinda stared at me and I said, 'What's going on?' She said, 'We're not gonna serve you today and you need to leave.'"

Parizek believes he wasn't served as a result of the Black Lives Matter and police brutality protests that have occurred in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd in May.

Parizek left the store without incident and contacted Dunkin' Donuts management. He said he doesn't drink their coffee, but often gets food from Dunkin' Donuts for his friends and family.

"No one can guarantee me they haven't been doing something to those products these last four months," Parizek said.

In a statement to WHO-TV, Dunkin' Donuts apologized for the incident and confirmed the two employees have been fired.

"The employees' behavior is not consistent with Dunkin's goal of creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all of our guests," a spokesperson said. "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."

Speaking to KXNO, Parizek said he didn't call for the pair to be fired, but wanted an explanation for their actions.

"As recently as Tuesday one of the young ladies in there 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.

Newsweek has contacted the Des Moines Police Department for comment.

This week, a Chipotle worker in Colorado was fired from their job after writing "I can't breathe" on the packaging of a meal served to a police officer.

In a statement to Newsweek, Chipotle said the worker was fired for serving the packaging to the Colorado police officer, adding the company has "zero-tolerance for any form of discrimination."

The "I can't breathe" message is believed to be a reference to the final words uttered by Floyd as Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes.

The food served to the officer appeared to have not been tampered with.

Dunkin' Donuts
An image of the sign for Dunkin' Donuts as photographed on March 16, 2020 in Levittown, New York. Two Dunkin’ Donuts employees have been fired for refusing to serve a police officer in Iowa. Bruce Bennett/Getty