June 16, 2020 / 11:25 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-NYPD rules out criminality by Shake Shack after officers fall ill

(Adds statement from NYPD)

By Aishwarya Nair and Ismail Shakil

June 16 (Reuters) - New York's police department said on Tuesday it found no criminal behavior by staff of burger chain Shake Shack, after three officers complained of feeling ill and their union said their shakes may have been spiked with bleach.

The officers, who stopped at Shake Shack for dinner while assigned to work during an anti-racism demonstration overnight, complained of feeling unwell and were taken to a hospital, where they were examined and released, the NYPD said in a statement.

"After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by Shake Shack’s employees," it said. Police were still investigating to determine whether the incident was "accidental or intentional in nature".

Shake Shack said on Twitter here it was horrified by reports that officers were unwell. Its staff were "working hard to get the full picture. In the meantime, we're relieved to hear the officers are all okay."

The police union, the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said that while the officers were eating, they "discovered that a toxic substance, believed to be bleach, had been placed in their beverages".

Like most U.S. cities, New York has experienced daily protests demanding racial justice since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. (Reporting by Aishwarya Nair and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru Editing by Robert Birsel)

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