Officials said a New Jersey Starbucks barista was arrested and charged after spitting in the drinks of police officers.
Kevin Trejo, 21, of Westwood, was arrested July 20 following an investigation that he spat in the officers’ drinks, according to NorthJersey.com, citing police.
Park Ridge Police Capt. Joseph Rampolla noted that “under the current COVID threat, it is extremely disturbing to think that someone would intentionally spit in your drink.”
Rampolla added that he is now working to get the officers tested for the virus. It’s not clear how many that would be.
Starbucks announced that it terminated Trejo’s employment at the company.
“We will continue to support Park Ridge Police in their investigation and have a deep respect for the Park Ridge Police Department and the officers who help keep our partners and communities safe,” the spokesperson told NorthJersey.com.
“This individual’s behavior was reprehensible and not at all a reflection of how our employees treat our customers on a daily basis,” another spokesperson said to NJ.com. “We want everyone who comes into our stores to receive a positive experience and when that doesn’t occur, we move quickly to address it and hold ourselves accountable.”
Rampolla said that Park Ridge police officers were known to frequent the Starbucks location over the years.
“We believe this was an isolated act but it does not remove the shock and disgust that our officers feel,” Rampolla said.
Trejo faces charges of subjecting a law enforcement officer to bodily fluid, purposely tampering with a law enforcement officer’s drink, and creating a hazardous environment.
Police Chief Joseph Madden said that officials “received information that an employee of a local coffee shop was spitting in the drinks of law enforcement that patronized the establishment,” adding that Trejo bragged about the incident, reported the Daily Voice.
Madden thanked the Starbucks managers “for their service and cooperation,” adding that the department has “had an extremely positive relationship with this business establishment and they have welcomed our community policing initiatives.”
The incident comes amid a wave of anti-police sentiment and Black Lives Matter protests.
“Officers risk their lives daily, it shouldn’t be while getting coffee,” Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement. “Every time I think we as society hit bottom, there is a new incident,” he added, according to NJ.com.
In June, an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer alleged that a worker spiked his drink in Diamond Bar, California, prompting an investigation.