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Debacle After Cops Said Shakes Tasted Funny Leads to Suit

Ex-Shake Shack manager says he suffered 'psychological damages' after being accused
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2021 11:34 AM CDT
False Claim That Cops' Shakes Were Poisoned Leads to Suit
Stock photo showing NYPD vehicles.   (Getty Images)

Three NYPD officers ordered Shake Shack milkshakes while on protest detail on June 15, 2020, and went to the hospital after saying they tasted funny. NYPD investigators determined within hours that the taste may have been from a cleaning solution that wasn't fully cleared from the milkshake machine, but not before NYPD unions claimed the trio had been poisoned on purpose. Now, Marcus Gilliam, the former manager who was detained, accused of putting bleach in the cups, and questioned for hours, is suing. "Throughout the interrogation, the Detectives taunted [Gilliam] about putting bleach in the milkshakes," reads his lawsuit, filed Monday, per the Washington Post. NBC News reports his suit explains that makes no sense, as the shakes were ordered via mobile app and made in advance, so "Gilliam and the other Shake Shack employees could not have known that police officers had placed the order."

"I'm sitting here thinking I'm being charged with attempted murder," Gilliam, 28, told the New York Times on Tuesday. "I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry." He's suing the Detectives' Endowment Association and the Police Benevolent Association, along with about 20 unnamed officers who came to the eatery that night, accusing them of defamation and false arrest. "When NYC police officers cannot even take [a] meal without coming under attack, it is clear that environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level," said PBA President Patrick Lynch at the time, per CNN. In his complaint, Gilliam claims his treatment inflicted "emotional and psychological damages and damage to his reputation." In the days and weeks following the incident, he said the store was subjected to threats, and employees were told to change into their uniforms at work so as not to be harassed on the street. (More NYPD stories.)

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