Razor Blade in NYPD Officer's Sandwich Turns Out to Just Be a Very Weird Accident

A shitstorm erupted a few days ago after a plainclothes NYPD officer bit into a sandwich in Queens, New York, and got a mouth full of razor blade.
December 10, 2019, 9:27pm
Photo: Getty Images / Composite by VICE Staff

On Thanksgiving night, the police chief of tiny Kiefer, Oklahoma said that he went into a Starbucks to order takeout coffees for the emergency dispatchers who were working during the holiday. But instead of getting cups inked with a baffling misspelling of his first name—as is often the case at Starbucks—Johnny O'Mara said that he was handed five cups labeled "Pig."

The Starbucks manager offered to reprint the labels, but O'Mara decided that wasn't good enough. He posted a photo of the "Pig" cups on Facebook and the now-deleted post went predictably viral.

Within a day, the story became national news, and Starbucks apologized for the "absolutely unacceptable" situation, fired the barista that was allegedly responsible, reportedly fired the store manager, and pledged to work on a national level to "promote better understanding and respect" of law enforcement officers. (Meanwhile, O'Mara's daughter tweeted that her father "absolutely is a pig.")

Dermot Shea was sworn in as the 44th Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on December 1, just a couple of days after the Pig Cups were passed out. Perhaps that situation was on his mind when he heard that a plainclothes NYPD officer bit into a razor blade at a sandwich shop in Queens, because he lost his shit.

"To repeat: The NYPD has ZERO tolerance for acts of violence against our police officers," he tweeted. "A sandwich bought at a Queens deli on Thurs. contained a razor blade that cut the inside of a [NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau] cop’s mouth. He’ll be OK, but a full investigation into this abhorrent act is underway."

Shea tagged John Ryan, the acting DA of Queens County, in the tweet, along with nine other police chiefs, and the NYPD's official Twitter account. According to WABC, the incident allegedly took place at the Bon Appetit Special Food Store in Belle Harbor, Queens. The officer was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Bon Appetit quickly released a statement to say it was very sorry about the situation. "First, we would like to extend our deepest apologies to the officer involved in this unfortunate incident. In our experience, the NYPD Officers of the 100th and 101st precincts have been an exemplary example of professionalism and service to not only our business but to our local community in the Rockaways, Queens, and New York City at large," the shop wrote. "If given the opportunity, the management of Bon Appetit would like to personally apologize to the officer and the rest of the local law enforcement community."

Bon Appetit said that it would be fully cooperating with the NYPD's investigation, and offered to share all of its CCTV footage from the afternoon in question. It also promised to do its own internal sleuthing into its employees' and their food prep techniques.

But by Saturday, well, Shea wasn't exactly backtracking, but he did acknowledge that the razor thing seemed to be just an unfortunate mistake. "After a thorough investigation by NYPD Detectives, it's been determined that the razor incident was indeed an accident," he tweeted. "Thankfully, our officer or another customer wasn't seriously injured. Appropriate agencies have been notified for follow up to ensure this never happens again."

He didn't say whether the thing that should "never happen again" is putting a restaurant on blast for an "act of violence" before the alleged incident is investigated… but maybe that's one lesson here.