CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Deputies in Cleveland County were taunted by employees and served tampered food at a fast food restaurant while taking a lunch break in their uniforms, according law enforcement sources.
The sources confirmed the accusations to WBTV after a post was made online by the wife of a Cleveland County deputy.
"As they walked up to place their orders, the boys in the back cooking the food started yelling at them and calling them names," the wife wrote about her husband's trip to the Zaxby's restaurant in Shelby.
She said her husband and his partner, who were both on duty and in their uniform, ignored the insults and continued ordering.
"Then, as they sat down to eat their food, my husband realized [they] had put the hottest sauce possible on [his] wings - to the point where his food wasn't even fit to eat," she continued.
WBTV spoke to the deputy, who asked that his name not be used. He said the incident happened Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland County Capt. Joel Shores said he was angered but not surprised by the incident.
"Years ago, this profession was respected, it was honored. Now to get ridiculed, to be a target, to possibly get shot at, for little pay... what's the motivation to be a police officer other than do it because your heart's in it to help the community?" Shores said.
Shores said it's not about the taunting, that's something they face every day.
"If you're not ready to be ridiculed, law enforcement is not the job for you, especially in today's world," he said.
He wishes people would realize the actions of a few don't speak for the entire law enforcement community.
"We don't want to shoot no one. We don't want to pepper spray. We don't want to taser, that's not what we wake up to do. We wake up to protect," he said.
A spokesperson for Zaxby's said the restaurant, located in the 2000 block of E. Dixon Blvd. in Shelby, is independently owned and operated by a franchisee.
The company said an internal investigation was launched with the company's management team and they are "working quickly to resolve this issue."
"It is our goal to always provide every guest with exceptional service," said the spokesperson.
The franchise owner did not respond to WBTV's request for comment.