A Chicago Dunkin’ employee was arrested Saturday after an Illinois state trooper accused him of spitting into his coffee.
The incident at a Dunkin’ location near Chicago Midway International Airport allegedly occurred Thursday night when the unidentified trooper ordered a large black coffee and looked inside, according to a statement from Illinois State Police.
«Due to the coffee being extremely hot, the Trooper removed the lid from the top of the cup of coffee in order to cool it down,» state police said. «The Trooper observed a large, thick piece of mucus which was later confirmed to be saliva, floating inside it.»
State troopers investigated and arrested Vincent J. Sessler the next day, Illinois State Police said. He was in Chicago Police Department custody Saturday, state police said.
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Sessler was booked on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, disorderly conduct and reckless conduct, the state department said. It was unclear Saturday night whether he has an attorney.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly said officers and employees were prohibited from patronizing that Dunkin’ location «for their safety.»
«This is outrageous and disgusting,» he said in a statement. «The men and women of the Illinois State Police put their heart and soul into protecting the lives and rights of all people in this state every day. They deserve better than this.»
The allegation was among a number of high-profile claims by police across the country being served adulterated beverages since the in-custody death of George Floyd in May sparked national outcries for police reform.
In June, a New York Police Department union, the Police Benevolent Association, said three officers were sickened by adulterated shakes served to them at a Lower Manhattan Shake Shack. But the NYPD looked into the matter and concluded there was «no criminality» by Shake Shack employees.
Later in June, after an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer claimed he found a tampon in a Frappuccino he bought at a Target Starbucks, Target said it reviewed security video and did not find anything suspicious.
In this case, it appears Dunkin’ is siding with authorities: The company, formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts until shortening its name last year, said in a statement to NBC Chicago that the franchise owner fired Sessler.
«Dunkin’ has a deep appreciation for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, and the franchise owner has reached out directly to the officer to apologize for the experience,» the company said.
Joe Studley is an assignment editor for NBC News.