Officer gets ‘I can’t breathe’ note with meal; department calls incident ‘upsetting’

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Wheat Ridge Police Department officer received a note saying “I can’t breathe” with a meal when dining at a Chipotle restaurant.

The incident occurred Thursday night. WRPD did not specify the store’s location.

The department said the note was written on the food’s packaging. It is likely a reference to statements made by a number of Black men who died while in police custody, including George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“It didn’t appear the food had been tampered with; however, this has been an upsetting incident for that officer and for our entire department,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

The department said officers’ safety is one of its highest priorities.

“As they work to protect our community, they should not have to wonder whether the food they are served is safe to eat or whether they will be treated any differently than others being served in an establishment,” WRPD said.

The department says it did not publicize the story and only contacted local media after a news station reached out regarding a tip.

“We know these are stressful times as our communities cope with the ongoing risks of the pandemic as well as the anxiety created by weeks of protests targeting police in cities across the country. While this single incident is disappointing and upsetting, despite the challenges of the past few months, we have experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from the Wheat Ridge community, and for that we are extremely grateful. We are also committed to ongoing conversations with our community about social justice and community policing,” the department said.

WRPD said officers take an oath to protect everyone’s rights, regardless of their opinions of police.

“This was an inappropriate way for an individual to voice those opinions. The Wheat Ridge Police Department is supportive of our local businesses and is trying to resolve this issue with store management with the hope of finding common ground on which to gain a mutual understanding and respect for our differences,” police said.

FOX31 and Channel 2 have reached out to Chipotle for a response.

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