When a police officer in Kansas sent a snap of the coffee he’d just bought from McDonald’s to his boss on Saturday, the chief was shocked.
Attached to the distinctive coffee cup was a receipt, on which “F**king pig” had been scrawled in black Sharpie ink.
Brian Hornaday, the chief of Herington Police Department uploaded the picture to Facebook, along with the story reported to him by his officer: that the officer had been to McDonald’s, received the cup with the insulting message written on it and had been offered a free meal in compensation.
“A Big Mac and large fries doesn’t make up for it,” Hornaday wrote in his Facebook post. “The U.S. veteran who continued to serve deserves much more.”
Hornaday had no reason to doubt the story; after all, a similar incident had recently taken place at an Oklahoma Starbucks, which had resulted in an employee being fired.
But on Monday, the police officer who had reported the abuse resigned, admitting he made the entire encounter up.
He told investigators it was “meant to be a joke”.
McDonald’s had launched their own investigation after Hornaday’s Facebook post went viral.
Social media users had already cast doubt on the man’s re-telling of events, pointing out that McDonald’s doesn’t write on coffee cups, full stop.
The company said they had “evidence” which confirmed that no one from the restaurant was involved.
The officer also confessed that his story wasn’t true, although he remains anonymous.
In a press conference, Hornaday said he was now re-evaluating how he used social media.
"I truly hope that the former officer ... that did this, I hope he understands the magnitude of the black eye that this gives the law enforcement profession from coast to coast," he said. "None of us can be excluded from that."
The chief added that from now on he will: "often question my decision about posting anything on social media because of the impact that it could have."
The internet did not hold back when it heard the news.
Rule 101 of 21st century life: don’t lie when there’s video evidence to prove otherwise. Although it’s not stopped police officers before…