Howell police greeted by derogatory comments at Five Guys restaurant

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Officers from the Howell Police Department say they were greeted with derogatory comments by an employee at a Five Guys restaurant.

The three police officers came to eat dinner on Friday night at Five Guys location on Route 9 in Howell. But upon entering the door, they say a young man at the grill made derogatory comments towards the officers.

"I heard one of the comment made by one of the cooks. ‘Piggies get the pork’ and you know all the employees were grouped together laughing and looking at our direction," says Patrolman Richard Robertiello, who was one of three officers whom the comments were directed at.

A manager told News 12 that a 17-year-old employee who worked at the eatery for the last year made the comments. They say the employee was fired within minutes of making the comments.

“As soon as I heard it, I knew what I heard. It was loud enough. And it was just disappointing because we we're all working very hard that night for Howell,” Patrolman Robertiello says.

The officers left immediately but the comments didn't go unnoticed by the patrons, which created a social media frenzy. A post on the Facebook and Twitter account Howell Happenings New Jersey erupted with comments and shares, and the phone number for the company’s general manager was posted.

"In no way shape or form did this represent our organization,” says Five Guys franchise owner Stephen Gilmartin, who said they are going to have a systemwide training session.

Officers say they're satisfied with the decision and quick action by the company's leaders.

"They were very apologetic and based on what they told me so far, I know that they’re very supportive of our Police Department," Patrolman Robertiello says.

Restaurant managers will host a fundraiser on Wednesday at the Howell Five Guys location and will donate 100% of purchases to the police department.

Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick says this was an isolated incident, not typical at the Five Guys at the center of the incident.

State PBA President Pat Collingan said in a statement:

"I believe the fast response by ownership and the community outreach says a lot. I support the efforts to move beyond the incident."

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