Last June, the manager of a Shake Shack was accused of poisoning three New York City Police Department officers after complaining about not feeling well after drinking milkshakes in his store.
However, an NYPD investigation found that no Shake Shack employee had committed “any criminality.” Now then-director Marcus Gilliam is suing members of the NYPD, New York City, and unions representing police and detectives, according to NBC News.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, Gilliam claims that the incident of June 15, 2020 damaged his reputation and that he suffered “emotional and psychological damage.” Gilliam seeks damages for alleged defamation and deprivation.
The three agents had gone to the Lower Manhattan Shake Shack to purchase strawberry, vanilla and cherry milkshakes. The lawsuit claims the officers ordered their shakes through the mobile apps and the drinks were waiting for them before they arrived.
The original case:NYPD says “no crime” after officers fell ill after drinking milkshakes
“Since the orders were placed using a mobile app, and not in person, Mr. Gilliam and the other Shake Shack employees could not have known that the police had placed the order,” the lawsuit said.
Officers said the drink didn’t taste good, threw them in the trash and told Gilliam. He then apologized and offered the agents vouchers for free food and milkshakes. The officers accepted and left.
But they later reported to their sergeant that Gilliam had put a “poisonous substance” they believed to be in bleach in their shakes. The following hours led to police declaring the store a crime scene and arresting Gilliam and her colleagues, according to the prosecution.
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Gilliam said she spent more than three hours at the police station. The investigation ultimately cleared Gilliam of any wrongdoing, and the lawsuit said restaurant security footage also showed no one tampered with the drinks.
However, several unions and police organizations were quick to report last year that the police had been poisoned. An NYPD lieutenant emailed the Police Benevolent Association and the Detectives’ Endowment Association, claiming officers got sick from the milkshakes.
The PBA wrote that the agents’ drinks had been intentionally spiked with a “toxic substance, which would be bleach or a similar cleaning agent.” While the NYPD Detective Union posted a similar message on Twitter.
“Tonight, three of our fellow police officers were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at Shake Shack,” the Detective Union wrote in a Twitter post. “Fortunately, they were not seriously injured.”
Shake Shack spoke at the time, tweeting that they were “horrified” by the news.
Due to public attention, the lawsuit says people would show up at the restaurant to taunt Gilliam. It is not known if Gilliam is still employed by Shake Shack.
“Defendants Lynch, PBA and DEA were grossly irresponsible in spreading the tweets as there was no evidence that the plaintiff or his employees poisoned the officers,” the lawsuit said.
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda