OKC Police Officer Sues After Being Served 'Tainted' Meal

Tuesday, April 4th 2017, 11:21 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City police officer is suing over a spicy quesadilla.

Sgt. Shawn Byrne claimed two convicted felons, working at a local Taco Bell, tainted his meal and it left him with severe burns. 

Byrne and his wife filed a lawsuit on March 31 against Taco Bell LLC and Taco Bell Inc.

The couple is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

Byrne claimed he was served an unsavory meal that forced him to take weeks of sick leave from the Oklahoma City Police Department

"One never knows whether you are trying to play a joke on somebody or you are really trying to do a serious injury to him," said Brian Dell, Byrne's attorney.

In the lawsuit, Byrne claimed he had just finished volunteering at the Tim Tebow Night to Shine Prom, a five-hour event in which he provided police escort to children with special needs on February 10. 

Byrne states he did not eat during the event. So, he pulled into the Taco Bell drive-thru at 10830 N. Rockwell Avenue to order a steak quesadilla and Mountain Dew.

"This order taker pointed to the window, saying there is a cop out there, basically the other two employees (who) laughed," said Dell.

According to the lawsuit, two of the employees were found to be convicted felons.

They allegedly tampered with the officer's food by adding a chipotle sauce and cologne.

The officer said he was unsuspecting right up until the first bite. 

"The problem is the pepper that was put on there was to an extent that it caused severe burning and blistering in his mouth," said Dell.

Byrne claimed he went to a couple of doctors who diagnosed him with the burns. 

The remainder of the quesadilla was also sent in for testing and showed a high concentration of pepper and also tested for cologne, according to the lawsuit.

News 9 reached out to Taco Bell's corporate offices and was transferred to a public relations specialist who did not provide comment in time for this report.

The restaurant has not provided Byrne's attorney with surveillance video of the incident.

However, the lawsuit claims detectives reviewed the video at the restaurant.

"They [OCPD] have been acting as though it was nothing serious," Dell said.

Dell is critical of the Oklahoma City police investigation into the incident and said they conducted a "limited investigation," never seeking information from the doctors who treated Byrne. 

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the incident. An Oklahoma City police spokesperson said the investigation has been closed.

"They [OCPD] have not done all of the things they were supposed to do and we are not entirely sure why," Dell said. "Many with the department are concerned this was an attack on the police."

As a routine, Oklahoma City police do not comment on civil suits.