An Illinois State Police District Chicago trooper purchased a large cup of black coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts shop at 6738 West Archer Avenue around 10:20 p.m. Thursday night. Because the coffee was “extremely hot,” he removed the lid to cool it down when he observed “a large, thick piece of mucus, which was later confirmed to be saliva, floating inside it,” Illinois State Police said in a press release.
Vincent J. Sessler, a 25-year-old employee working at the Dunkin’ at the time of the incident, was arrested before 1 p.m. on Friday. He was charged with disorderly conduct, reckless conduct, and battery to a peace officer. He remained in custody at the Chicago Police Department 8th District as of Saturday.
“This is outrageous and disgusting. The men and women of the Illinois State Police put their heart and soul into protecting the lives and rights of all people in this state every day,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said in a statement. “They deserve better than this insulting and dangerous treatment. For their safety, ISP officers and employees will be prohibited from patronizing this location."
Sessler has since been fired from the coffee and donut shop location.
“The type of behavior reported to us is inconsistent with the brand’s values. The franchise owner who independently owns and operates this restaurant informs us that he took immediate action to investigate the matter and terminated the individual responsible for this reprehensible behavior,” Dunkin’ said in a statement to WMAQ-TV. “Dunkin’ has a deep appreciation for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, and the franchise owner has reached out directly to the officer to apologize for the experience."
The incident comes as law enforcement remains under heavy scrutiny amid a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Police have been injured and killed in the civil unrest while some agencies also have been criticized for their harsh responses to peaceful demonstrations in some instances.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Dunkin’ Brands Inc. said Thursday it expects to close up to 800 underperforming U.S. stores this year. The Canton, Mass.-based company had previously announced the closure of 450 stores within Speedway gas stations.
But the company said Thursday it’s targeting an additional 350 stores, most of which are unprofitable. Closing the restaurants would allow their franchisees to reinvest in newer stores in higher-traffic areas, Dunkin’ Chief Financial Officer Katherine Jaspon said during a conference call with investors. The company said its sales dropped 20 percent in the second quarter to $287 million. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year dropped 19 percent from the April-June period a year ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.