Local News

Community continues to heal after social media firestorm involving Raleigh police

Posted May 4

— A community was continuing to recover Thursday, nearly a week after a social media firestorm about an incident that police and the owner of a Raleigh restaurant say did not happen.

The controversy began last week after a Facebook post claimed people at Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q restaurant, at 4000 Jones Sausage Rd, sang the NWA song, "F-the Police" to Raleigh officers who were eating at the restaurant.

“There was no singing,” the Raleigh Police Department said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"Two officers witnessed one employee make eye contact with them and mouth the words 'F... the Police,'" the statement continued. “There were no other employees involved. Because of the subtle nature of this act, it was not witnessed by anyone else in the store."

The employee involved no longer works at the restaurant.

The restaurant owner, David Harris, and his longtime employees are hoping to get back to what they do best, cooking barbecue for the community - something they have done for 20 years.

The backlash hurt the reputation of the business this past week, but after a release of surveillance video showing no obvious problem between the officers and the employees, everyone is hoping the matter can be laid to rest.

"We still have customers coming in very loyal, and we're very thankful to have them," Harris said. "Despite everything that's been in the news media, they still come visit us, so we're very thankful that we've not really seen any drop in business."

On Thursday, customers lined up to show support.

"That's why I came to eat here today because I heard about all that, so I said, 'I'm going to come up here to eat,'" said Jeff Sanders.

Patty Meyer agreed.

"Their customers, they just really treat them really well, so I can;t imagine they would do this to an actual police officer, or anyone," Meyer said.

But the situation did take a toll on the staff.

"It was pretty tough," said Barry Dunn, a cook. "We got through, and everything came out better."

"Despite what's been put out in the media and such, we still have customers coming in very loyal, and we're very tankful to have them," said Chris Stancil, the operations manager.

2 Comments

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  • Henry Cooper May 4, 9:53 p.m.
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    So True, Along with an apology from the officers that knew it did not happen as first reported but let it build to a frenzy. It is amazing how the story changes when the video tape is released.

    This is so much more serious than the media or the RPD has acknowledged. Had this happened in closer proximity time wise to the issues that caused all the violence in Ferguson it may have caused violence here. If you remember there were protest here.

    Authority figures have to be absolutely certain of events before throwing the public under the bus. Other than direct uncalled for violence against a citizen what could be any worse than having a LEO accuse someone of something they did not do.

  • Matt Smithe May 4, 3:27 p.m.
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    It's interesting, if not at all surprising, that WRAL completely fails to mention their part in the spread of this story. They ran with a Facebook story with no verification of the story or sources. That's called journalism. Unfortunately WRAL only conducts reporting and not journalism. They could at least admit to and apologize for their part in creating this mess.