NEW YORK - After the NYPD determined that Shake Shack employees didn't do anything criminal to the milkshakes that apparently sickened three police officers, the mayor blasted two police unions for spreading "untrue and false" allegations that the cops had been intentionally poisoned by bleach.
The police came to the determination after "a thorough investigation," NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said in a tweet early Tuesday. The milkshakes apparently may have been accidentally contaminated with a cleanser. Harrison told a television news program that the incident "maybe a little bit of a misunderstanding regarding how they clean the items that made the beverage."
The officers had been assigned to work at a protest Monday evening in Manhattan when they stopped at the restaurant for a meal, the New York Patrolman's Benevolent Association said in a statement. The officers determined "a toxic substance, believed to be bleach," was added to their beverages, the statement said.
The officers went to a hospital for treatment but weren't seriously harmed, The Detectives' Endowment Association stated.
In their social media posts, the unions expressed outrage that cops would be targeted but provided no evidence backing that up. But by morning, the unions had taken down their statements after the NYPD announced the results of its probe.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that he was "sick of" police unions spreading unsubstantiated rumors about officers being intentionally poisoned and said they were "sowing division" in the city.
"Last night, there was an allegation that some police officers were poisoned at a Shake Shack. They—the unions—broadcast this on Twitter all night, turned out to be untrue and false," the mayor said at his media briefing. "So, they basically defamed this restaurant chain and acted irresponsibly and I'm just wondering whether there are consequences for that?"
De Blasio called some of the actions by the police unions "anti-social" and specifically called out the head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
"The SBA leadership has engaged in racist activities so many times I can't even count it and anyone who is tweeting in favor of Confederate monuments is supporting the structural racist history of this country. I'm just sick of it. I've been sick of it for years," de Blasio said. "They try to undermine efforts to bond police and community. They try to undermine progress."
Ed Mullins, the president of the SBA, told FOX 5 NY that "every member" of the NYPD and his union should be offended by the mayor's comments.
Shake Shack tweeted that it was "horrified" by reports of the alleged contamination. The restaurant chain said it was working with the police in the investigation.
Officers across the U.S. and world have been called to watch over protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.