A probe of what happened to police officers who said they became sick after ingesting milkshakes from Shake Shack turned up no evidence of illegal actions, police officials said.
“After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by shake shack’s employees,” the department’s Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said in a statement early Tuesday.
Harrison didn’t disclose further details.
Three officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital late Monday after purchasing and drinking milkshakes from a Shake Shack location in New York City’s Manhattan borough. They were expected to recover.
Several police unions said what happened appeared to be intentional.
Officers “discovered that a toxic substance, believed to be bleach, had been placed in their beverages,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, said in a message to members of the union.
Officers should carefully inspect any food items they purchase while on duty for possible contamination, he said. Whenever possible, officers shouldn’t get meals alone.
“We cannot afford to let out guard down for even a moment,” Lynch warned.
Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detective Endowment Association, in an urgent safety message to officers said the three cops were “intentionally poisoned” by one or more workers at the Shake Shack and claimed that officers “across the country are under attack by vicious criminals who dislike us simply because of the uniform we wear.”
In an update Tuesday morning, the association said that initially it was reported that whatever made the officers ill was intentionally put into the drinks.
“Evidently, however, the toxic substance, a cleaning solution, accidentally made its way into the officers’ shakes. If so, we are all relieved to hear that this was not an intentional attempt to harm our officers and are pleased to report they will make a full recovery,” it stated.
Shake Shack said in a social media statement that company officials were “horrified” by reports of what happened and said the company was helping police with the investigation.
After Harrison said no criminality was found, the company added: “Our team is working hard to get the full picture. In the meantime, we’re relieved to hear the officers are all okay.”
Shake Shack earlier this month shared a document containing articles and other media “intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work.”
One of the articles linked in the document stated: “First and foremost, police officers and the National Guard themselves are initiating violence. Violence. Take that in—not the destruction of property, but violence against people; these are two very different things.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.