The New York Police Department made headlines this week when three officers were hospitalized after getting on-duty desserts at a Manhattan Shake Shack. Almost immediately, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, one of the biggest and more belligerent police unions in New York, put out a statement suggesting the officers had been deliberately poisoned with bleach—a claim that was later disputed by an actual NYPD investigation.
There's still more drama unfolding between police officers and the sinister threats they imagine lurking behind the cash registers at fast food restaurants. In a nearly two-and-a-half minute video posted online, a woman who identifies herself as a police officer recounts with growing horror and emotion the saga of a Georgia McDonald's drive-through losing her order. At one point, she said an employee asked her to pull out of the line, and then brought her a cup of coffee, but not the Egg McMuffin that she had pre-ordered via the McDonald's app. This was apparently more than the police officer could handle.
"I said 'don't bother with the food because right now I’m too nervous to take it.' It doesn't matter how many hours I've been up. It doesn't matter what I've done for anyone. Right now I'm too nervous to take a meal from McDonald's because I can't see it being made. I don't know what's going on with people nowadays, but please, just give us a break. Please just give us a break. I don't know how much more I can take. I have been in this for 15 years and I have never ever had such anxiety about waiting for McDonald's drive-thru food. So please just have a heart and if you see an officer just tell them 'thank you.' Because I don’t hear 'thank you' enough anymore."
The video has set off a wave of mockery on social media, with Twitter users dubbing the woman "Officer Karen," and many questioning whether she should be allowed to carry a firearm if she has such a massive reaction to a botched breakfast order. Other people are rushing to her defense—specifically by doxxing the McDonald's that they believe lost the Egg McMuffin.
It all sounds a bit ridiculous, but paranoia and the manic demand for respect are as embedded in police culture as violence is. Late in 2019, a Kansas police chief angrily denounced a local McDonald's after one of his officers received a coffee cup with "fucking pig" written on it—a nickname the officer later admitted he wrote himself.
Earlier this month, a Philadelphia sandwich shop called Di Bruno Bros announced it would no longer offer free meals to police officers, and removed a sign in its front window promoting the special. The restaurant's owners also issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matter and the anti-police brutality protests going on across the country. Upon learning they could no longer eat for free there, Philadelphia cops borrowed a page from the activist playbook: the head of the local police union announced that the cops would start a boycott.
“The mentality that we’re in a war, and the culture of ‘us versus them,’ starts in the academy”
Originally Appeared on GQ