Two deli workers’ refusal to serve a uniformed police officer at the Piggly Wiggly on Sunday was “an isolated incident,” a Pascagoula police official said.
Police Sgt. Doug Adams said he has spoken with the manager of the Moss Point store and reviewed its surveillance footage, which he said shows the deli workers acknowledging Officer Scott Clayton but refusing to serve him.
“One worker walked to the back of the deli and it appears he asks the two at the counter if they could help him, but they did not,” Adams said.
Clayton had gotten off duty between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and had stopped at the store to pick up items for sandwiches.
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“He took the rest of his purchases, went to the counter and paid for them and left,” Adams said.
“This police department, and I personally, have a long-standing relationship with the Piggly Wiggly. This in no way, shape, form or fashion diminishes our relationship with the Piggly Wiggly or reflects on the general attitude of the corporation and the majority of their employees.”
Adams said he has spoken with Clayton and the manager, and Clayton will be speak with the manager as well.
Workers could lose their jobs
The two deli workers could lose their jobs, store manager Barry Carmack said.
Surveillance video shows it’s clear that the deli workers refused to serve Clayton, he said.
“Why, I’m still not sure,” Carmack said. “We’re still interviewing witnesses and I’m trying to get a call through to the officer to get his statement.”
“It’s not something we tolerate,” Carmack said. “We will do everything we can to rectify this.”
It’s not something we tolerate. We will do everything we can to rectify this.
Piggly Wiggly store manager Barry Carmack
Carmack said he learned of the incident through a Facebook post made by Hannah Mae, whose Facebook profile shows Clayton is her fiancé.
Carmack said he’s notified his corporate office.
“Once we get the statements together, I will turn them over to Human Resources,” he said. “The ball’s out of my court now.”
The store is at 7831 Mississippi 613.
Facebook post recounts incident
According to Hannah Mae’s post, deli workers turned their backs on Clayton and said, “I’m not serving him.”
By noon Monday, her post had been shared 593 times with 215 comments and 320 reacts.
“He is a daddy, a son, a brother, a friend, and MY soon to be husband,” she wrote.
“He is still human, he breathes the same air as all of us ... Just because he is wearing a badge and a gun doesn’t mean he is different ... IT’S HIS JOB!!!!,” she wrote. “Trust me Piggly Wiggly will no longer get my money!!!! Apparently they don’t support our Law enforcement!!!!”
She removed her Facebook post later Monday, but Facebook showed that almost 5,000 people were talking about the incident on social media.
But some of those who had responded to her post were calling for a boycott.
“I don’t know what to say about that,” Carmack said. “We don’t condone anything like this and will do whatever we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
SunHerald.com will update this report as details develop.