FRIENDSWOOD, Texas - Whataburger is apologizing for what it calls an unfortunate misunderstanding of its open carry policy at a Friendswood location Thursday.
A plainclothes detective with the Friendswood Police Department was denied service at the Whataburger off East Parkwood Avenue, due to the gun he had on his person. His police badge was also visible. The employee cited the company’s concealed carry policy as the reason the detective would not be served.
A Friendswood citizen took to social media to post their outrage. In the now-deleted post, which went viral, the author said they understand the restaurant doesn't allow open carry, but said there should be an exception to that rule for on-duty officers.
“I think people need to use common sense,” said Lisa Duchamp, of Friendswood. “I think if you say a detective that has his badge and his ID and he’s trying to show it to you, I think that’s a reasonable approach to deciding whether or not you’re gonna serve somebody.”
Others, including John Jackson, sided with the Texas burger chain.
“To be honest, I appreciate everything that detectives do and their work and I also think it’s tough because Whataburger is a private place, too, and so they have their rules," Jackson said.
The restaurant’s corporate office issued a statement Thursday saying:
This was an unfortunate misunderstanding of our open carry policy, and we’ve talked to the detective to make this right. He was understanding, accepted our apology and said he plans to come back to Whataburger. Our company policy allows law enforcement with proper identification to open carry at our restaurants, and we’ll be reinforcing this policy with employees through additional training. We’ve also been in contact with the Friendswood Police Officers Association. We want to make it clear that this detective and all law enforcement are welcome in our restaurants and we’re proud to serve them. –Whataburger Corporate Communications
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