An official investigation has debunked previous claims that a Starbucks barista put a tampon in a drink ordered by an off-duty police officer. Back in June, an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department claimed they found a tampon in their frappuccino, which they claimed was done deliberately due to anti-police sentiment resulting from ongoing civil rights protests.
"Based on the evidence available at this time, the item in the drink was possibly a cleaning type cloth commonly used by store employees," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, according to TMZ. Given that a cleaning cloth is a commonly-used item by most Starbucks employees, it was deemed as an accident and not a malicious act. The incident was initially being investigated as "an incident of alleged poisoning of food or drink" after an off-duty LAPD officer allegedly found a tampon in a Starbucks drink late last week. The incident also occurred at a Starbucks inside a Target, and was initially reported by Fox LA's Bill Melugin.
BREAKING: Sources tell me an off duty LAPD officer allegedly found a tampon halfway thru his Frappuccino at a Starbucks in Diamond Bar on Friday. I’m told he used his police credit union debit card. Sheriff’s Dept. confirms they took a report & they’re now investigating. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/HdLTreNuur— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 23, 2020
The officer claimed that he'd used his police credit union debit card to purchase his drink, only to discover the now-cleaning cloth in his drink. Immediately afterward, the officer "angrily" went back inside to confront staff and returned the cup to employees. The LA Police Protective League even issued a statement, calling the incident a "disgusting assault on a police officer was carried out by someone with hatred in their heart and who lacks human decency." It also called for the person to be "publicly exposed, fired, arrested, and prosecuted for their cowardly and repugnant actions."
Despite the accusations, Target conducted its own investigation into the matter and found no wrongdoing by the staff. After reviewing video footage of the store, Target indicated they had "not found any suspicious behavior." The statement also read that they "look forward to the conclusions" of their investigation into the matter. The findings were also celebrated by the scores of people on social media who called the initial claims dubious at best.
The incident drew comparisons to similar accusations made by members of the New York Police Department, claiming that employees of a local Shake Shack tried to poison them. NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison shared details of an investigation back in June being made by the city's Manhattan South department. That investigation also determined that "there was no criminality by Shake Shack's employees," and was instead cleaning solution not thoroughly wiped off on one of the restaurant's machines.