A decorated Kansas City cop was kicked out of an Olive Garden Sunday for carrying his service weapon into the restaurant.
There are a few problems with that. Firstly, Officer Michael Holsworth was on duty at the time and is required to carry his gun while in uniform. Secondly, he was kicked out on his birthday. And finally, Missouri law allows residents to openly carry handguns.
For his colleagues, the move is an example of disrespect toward police officers and shouldn’t be tolerated. Luckily, Olive Garden has smoothed things over by apologizing repeatedly. The president himself apologized to Michael, the Kansas City Star reported.
Olive Garden spokesperson Rich Jeffers said the employee who kicked the cop out made a mistake and noted that the company generally complies with local laws in its restaurants; the same laws that apply to civilians, apply to cops.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 13, 2015
“It’s unacceptable, that’s what it is. Olive Garden welcomes members of law enforcement all the time in the restaurants. We love serving them. They serve our community. The least we can do is provide them a great meal.”
It all went down Sunday, when the cop arrived at the restaurant with his family to celebrate his birthday. While waiting on a bench in uniform, a hostess noticed his handgun and approached him with an unexpected request, the cop recounted, according to WDAF.
“I walked in and sat down on a bench just inside the doors. As I was sitting there waiting, one of the employees told me, ‘sir, we don’t allow guns in here.'”
At first, Holsworth thought she was joking, and when he asked if she was serious, she told him “Yes, please leave.”
The New York Daily News added that the hostess told the armed cop guns weren’t allowed in that Olive Garden restaurant. Following the incident, the Fraternal Order of Police threatened to protest outside the establishment, and the cop himself took to Facebook to complain about the incident.
“My experience today at Olive Garden was extremely unfortunate. I had hoped to simply enjoy an uninterrupted birthday meal with my family. I never believed I would be asked to leave a public restaurant because I was in full police uniform which requires me to carry my duty weapon… I ask that the media… devote their attentions to altering the general narrative about police officers in a more positive direction so this type of situation does not occur in the future.”
The cop said he didn’t want his fellow officers to suffer the same “embarrassing situation” that he went through. Regardless, he wrote that he has seen “it happening all over the United States to other officers, but never thought it would of happened to me.”
@olivegarden Today a uniformed officer was told that he had to leave your Independence Mo store because he had a gun. You should be ashamed
— Brad Lemon (@FOPLemon) October 11, 2015
And of all cops to kick out of a restaurant, Olive Garden chose a decorated and respected one. Last year, Michael earned a Distinguished Service Medal for his role in the takedown of a burglar who had been linked to a triple homicide.
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon said the chain should be ashamed of how it treated the city cop. And it seems Olive Garden is at the very least apologetic: In addition to the personal phone call to Holsworth, a company spokesman called the department and apologized, and they were penitent on Twitter, declaring that all police are welcome.
But for Lemon, the hostess’ actions are an example of disrespect not just against all cops.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult day for our brother, and our entire family. All we ever ask is to be treated fairly and with the same respect to due anyone else. When we are treated poorly because of our chosen occupation, it hurts. It’s not okay to treat law enforcement poorly. We deserve, and have earned, the same level of respect due to each and every member of society.”
[Photo Courtesy Julien_N / Shutterstock]