Local News

No vulgar police singing encounter at Raleigh restaurant, police say

Posted May 3
Updated May 10

— Raleigh police have determined that a Facebook rumor that employees at a Garner restaurant sang the NWA song "F- the Police" to Raleigh officers last week were false.

The controversy began last week after a Facebook post claimed people at a Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q restaurant sang to 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."

Restaurant owner David Harris responded on Facebook, saying the company respects law enforcement. His lawyer -- Mark O'Mara, who is best known for representing George Zimmerman -- said Wednesday that surveillance video shows an employee near the officers at one point, which is when the alleged incident happened.

"There was no singing, there was no banging on anything, and there were no other employees involved," O'Mara said.

The employee no longer works at the restaurant, O'Mara said.

O'Mara said the officer who saw the employee mouth the words told someone else, who put the story on Facebook. The incident then spiraled out of control from the "embellished" Facebook post, O'Mara said.

"Ultimately, the Raleigh Police Department, Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q and our whole community were victims of misinformation and misunderstanding causing the original reporting of the story to be wrong," the RPD statement said.

"It hurts in the heart, not just in the pocketbook," O'Mara said. "It hurts in the heart."

Harris said the fallout was very devastating.

"My dad taught me to respect everyone in uniform," Harris said. "It's been very emotional, and probably the hardest thing for me to think is there are law enforcement officers who think we allowed or condoned this."

Police union spokesman Rick Armstrong agrees the incident was exaggerated, but still believes something inappropriate happened.

"The officer did tell me, he's a member of ours, that he walked in to Smithfield's and the manager of the establishment did say several times, 'F... the police.' He was very clear about that," Armstrong said.


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  • Dean Morron May 4, 4:34 a.m.
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    Years ago, during a televised broadcast covering the assassination attempt on then President Ronald Reagan, Peter Jennings stated this " As a news media, it is our job to " Get It Right " while we've heard many conflicting reports we will sort them out and report the truth to the American public." ( Some what paraphrased) ........ It is a shame WRAL can't do the same.

  • Tom Harris May 3, 10:44 p.m.
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    I don't even believe the amended version of this story. If I were the business owner, I might think about a libel suit against the officer who irresponsibly posted the BS on Facebook. What was he thinking?

  • Fred Neopolitano May 3, 9:52 p.m.
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    Singing, mouthing- what difference does that make? An employee at that restaurant was being inappropriate. Let's move on.

  • Nick Quick May 3, 9:25 p.m.
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    So is the policeman who saw it a certified lip reader?

  • John Townsend May 3, 8:27 p.m.
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    Why does the restaurant have a lawyer involved? Even if the original allegations had been true, nobody claimed anyone did anything illegal or even lawsuit worthy.

  • Henry Cooper May 3, 6:46 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    I want to make sure I understand. You think the singing by them employees did happen and Smithfield's CnBBQ paid off the RPD. Call it a settlement if you like but changing a story for $ is a payoff.

    FYI the full video from entry to exit is avail... You should check it out....


  • Albert Holmes May 3, 5:28 p.m.
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    I wonder what the settlement was for the Police Dept to change this story ! AND you only saw a small portion of the video not all of it ! It pays to have an expensive lawyer to represent you !

  • Tom Simon May 3, 4:18 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    So now that the RPPA has admitted fault, are we still on the fake news thing?

  • Danita Freeman May 3, 2:35 p.m.
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    Why didn't the officers that were mouthed the vulgar song come forward and correct the original Facebook post? Did they miss all of the news coverage about it being several employees along with the manager singing the song? The blue wall of silence strikes again.

  • Tom Simon May 3, 2:15 p.m.
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    Sounds like Matthew Cooper learned a little today about due process, which is surprising considering the organization that he leads. Now, a local business is smeared and he's set his organization up as the group that cries wolf going forward. I'm a proud supporter of RPD and hope that a peaceful resolve comes to this and the community can move on from it without any additional prejudicial commentary or dirt thrown in all directions.