The owner of a McDonald’s restaurant in Central is seeking a permanent injunction against a former East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy who’s contended on Facebook that an employee muttered profanities under her breath after the deputy complained about slow service.
Former Lt. Tracy Baker — who claims an employee mouthed “f***ing a****** cop” and “black lives matter, too” after he complained about service during a Sept. 9 visit — was fired by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 4 for a number of alleged policy violations stemming from the posts, Baker said, including allegedly using an office computer to compose the post, lying to a superior officer about the incident and for conduct unbecoming of an officer, all of which Baker denies.
District Court Judge Michael Caldwell granted the McDonald’s a temporary restraining order last Thursday prohibiting Baker from airing those allegations through any manner or medium, according to court records, but Baker said Tuesday he still hasn’t been served with the order. A hearing on the order and the sought-for injunction is scheduled Monday.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said Baker’s termination “was a result of various policy violations” but declined to comment further.
Baker, 48, a regular customer at the McDonald’s on Hooper Road in Central, said he was waiting to order breakfast in the drive-thru lane on the morning of Sept. 9 when he noticed a number of customers in another lane while he kept waiting.
After he complained to a manager, Baker said, he heard the employee utter the phrases under her breath. Baker, who worked at the Parish Prison, was in his uniform but was driving his personal, unmarked vehicle.
Baker said he complained to McDonald’s but continued to see the same employee working at the restaurant while stopping there for breakfast on his way to work.
The deputy posted his grievances against the restaurant in a lengthy Facebook post, writing that “McDonald’s has sided with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement that is killing law enforcement all over this country,” a reference to the protest movement that has criticized police use of force in the wake of a number of widely publicized officer-involved shootings in the last couple of years.
Baker also changed his profile picture on the social media website to a picture of McDonald’s logo, circled in red and crossed out, with “McDonald’s does NOT Back the Blue” written underneath.
In a petition for a restraining order, attorneys for the owner of the McDonald’s franchise on Hooper Road say an investigation into Baker’s complaints found “no evidence whatsoever to support his allegations” and that videotape from inside the restaurant “confirms that Baker’s inflammatory allegations are simply untrue.”
Baker said he repeatedly raised the allegations and posted about them on Facebook because he saw the employee’s alleged comments as “a matter of officer safety.”
“I know a lot of my at-the-time fellow police officers went through there,” Baker said. “I didn’t take it as a physical threat, but I took it as maybe she might taint the food or something like that.”
Messages left for attorneys for Chris Valluzzo, the owner of the McDonald’s, were not immediately returned Tuesday.
In a statement provided to WAFB-TV, Valluzzo called Baker’s allegations a “false claim” and said his franchise locations support law enforcement.
“I can personally assure you that we absolutely ‘Back the Blue!’” Valluzzo said. “You have our highest respect and honor.”