NYPD Says ‘No Criminality’ After Bleach Found in Officers’ Milkshakes at Shake Shack

Shake Shack

Getty Exterior view of a Shake Shack on April 20, 2020, in New York City.

The NYPD is investigating a New York Shake Shack after three officers were hospitalized on June 15. Two NYPD unions tweeted statements saying they believed the milkshakes were intentionally poisoned with bleach, but now say investigators found “no criminality” in the incident.

According to a now-deleted statement issued by the union, the incident occurred at the Shake Shack located at 200 Broadway in Manhattan.

The NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association said in a now-deleted tweet, “Tonight, three of our fellow officers were intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack at 200 Broadway in Manhattan. Fortunately, they were not seriously harmed.”

Sources told the New York Post that the officers were “alert and conscious” and were taken to Bellevue Hospital.

The detectives’ union issued an updated statement Tuesday morning, saying, “Although the investigation is still ongoing, at this point NYPD investigators have found ‘no criminality’ in how these officers got sick. Initially, it was reported that whatever toxic substance made the officers ill was intentionally placed in their drinks.” The union added:

Evidently, however, the toxic substance, a cleaning solution, accidentally made its way into the officers’ shakes. If so, we are all relieved to hear that this was not an intentional attempt to harm our officers and are pleased to report they will make a full recovery.

We want to thank all NYPD personnel who responded efficiently to this potentially disastrous situation. Thank you to Shake Shack for their full and timely cooperation in the investigation. The fact remains, please stay vigilant, stay safe and always be aware of your surroundings.

Another NYPD union, the Police Benevolent Association of New York, initially tweeted, “When NYC police officers cannot even take meal without coming under attack, it is clear that environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level. We cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment.” But Patrick Lynch, the union president, said in an updated statement Tuesday morning:

While the investigation into this incident remains ongoing, the NYPD Detective Bureau has indicated that ‘no criminality’ is suspected on the part of Shake Shack’s employees. Our understanding is that Shake Shack is fully cooperating with the investigation into the incident.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison confirmed the unions’ statements, tweeting Tuesday, “After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by Shake Shack’s employees.”

The NYPD Union Warned Police Officers That They Are ‘Under Attack’ & Must Be Vigilant

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association — the labor union serving NYC detectives — issued a full statement, which has now been deleted, that read in part:

Police in New York City and across the country are under attack by vicious criminals who dislike us simply because of the uniform we wear. Emboldened by pandering elected officials, these cowards will go to great lengths to harm any member of law enforcement.

We MUST be more vigilant than ever. We urge you to not buy food from locations unknown to you. Keep your eyes open and be alert at all times. Make sure you always stay with your partner — and back one another up. Inspect your vehicle — personal and department — before you drive.

The names of the three officers were not provided. According to the PBA, all three officers were released from the hospital after they were treated.

“We are relieved that our brothers will be OK. We are also relieved that, based on the current evidence, there was no intentional attack on New York City police officers in this case. As always, we urge you to remain vigilant at all times, both on and off duty,” Lynch said Tuesday.

Shake Shack Said It Is ‘Relieved to Hear the Officers Are All OK’

Shake Shack issued a statement on Twitter about the NYPD union’s allegations of intentional poisoning:

The original statement read, “We are horrified by the reports of police officers injured at our 200 Broadway Shack in Manhattan. We are working with the police in their investigation right now.”

On Tuesday, after the investigation determined the officers were not poisoned intentionally, the restaurant chain tweeted, “Our team is working hard to get the full picture. In the meantime, we’re relieved to hear the officers are all okay.”

Heavy reached out to Shake Shack for more information but did not immediately hear back.

According to the New York Post, police recovered two of the three milkshake cups, one of which was still partially full. The NYPD told Heavy in an emailed statement: “We are investigating an incident at the Shack Shack location at 200 Broadway in Manhattan around 2030 hours tonight. Three officers complained of not feeling well after drinking shakes from the location; they were removed to area hospital for treatment and observation and have subsequently been released.”

The New York Daily News wrote about the incident, “A police source said it appears that a machine used to make milkshakes at the Fulton Transit Center Shake Shack was not properly cleaned and that residue from a cleaning product that contains bleach had not been wiped or rinsed from the machine before it was put back into service.”

The NYPD Has Been Under the Microscope for Their Response to Protests

Since the protests over George Floyd‘s death in police custody began in late May, the NYPD has been at the frontlines of the demonstrations in New York City. On June 12, the NYPD Twitter account released video footage of a group attacking NYPD officers with rocks and bottles.

The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau has also been looking into videos of police encounters with protesters. One officer, Vincent D’Andraia, has been charged with assault and harassment for a confrontation with a female protester that was captured on video, NBC reported. The 20-year-old victim was shoved by D’Andraia and hit her head on the pavement when she fell, suffering a seizure and a concussion.

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