Miller's Ale House, Winter Park police respond to spitting claims

Investigation finds cooks accused of spitting in officers' food claim is unfounded

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter

WINTER PARK, Fla. - A Miller's Ale House investigation into an alleged incident has found that the tip Winter Park police received about cooks spitting into law enforcement's food is unfounded and the Fraternal Order of Police is retracting its social media post.

Local 6 first reported on the tip Tuesday night after a post on social media warning law enforcement about the Winter Park restaurant accused cooks of spitting in food ordered by law enforcement officers.

The post was made by the Orange County Sheriff's Fraternal Order of Police No. 93 and read, "It has been brought to our attention that the cooks at the Miller's Ale House at Lee Road and 1792 in Winter Park spit in the food that is ordered by law enforcement officers. Keep this in mind next time you eat out in uniform."

They are allegations made by the organization that represents a number of deputies with a large following. The post was shared all day, sparking outrage, disgust and even boycotts among readers. Behind the scenes, conversations with Ale House regional offices and law enforcement took place.

The FOP told Local 6 it happened to a Winter Park police officer sometime within the past week so they were warning other officers. 

Late Tuesday night, the Fraternal Order of Police posted a follow up:

"Miller's Ale House leadership was contacted regarding a matter that arose at one of their restaurants. They assured us that they are conducting an internal investigation and this type of behavior will not be tolerated in their restaurants. Miller's Ale House has been a supporter of local law enforcement for many years and we are confident that relationship will continue."

On Wednesday, Winter Park Police told Local 6 the incident started from a tip from a citizen, but that the person may have been angry with the police. The agency is questioning the claim's legitimacy, saying there is no investigation and that they believe the claims about the cooks are unsubstantiated.

Police said they did notify Miller's Ale House, which released a statement to Local 6 on Wednesday from President and COO Ray Holden.

"This is absolutely untrue. We've been in business for 25 years, we LOVE the law enforcement community. We deeply respect and support the police force in ALL of our communities," the statement read. "Our cooks are well trained, but they don't know which customer they are cooking for … only what menu item is next up. More importantly, our culture at Miller's Ale House is to treat all guests as if they were dining at our family table…and that certainly includes our many friends in law enforcement."

Local 6 contacted the FOP after Winter Park police and the Ale House's responses and received a release on Thursday afternoon.

In the release, the FOP said Miller's Ale House conducted an investigation and found that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

"Miller's Ale House contends that no such incident occurred and the Fraternal Order Police is satisfied with this explanation," the release stated.

FOP said it is withdrawing its Facebook posting and thanked Miller's Ale House "for responding so swiftly to this apparently false allegation."

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