The New York City Police Department’s chief of detectives on Tuesday said that no foul play had been found after three police officers identified a suspicious substance in shakes they had ordered from a Shake Shack location in downtown Manhattan.
The three officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital after consuming an “unknown substance” inside their milkshakes, the NYPD told Business Insider.
“After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by shake shack’s employees,” the NYPD’s chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, wrote on Twitter.
Police sources told the New York Post a cleaning solution hadn’t been fully washed off of a shake machine. That’s apparently what led the officers to notice a weird taste in their drinks just after 9 p.m. at the Shake Shack location near Fulton Street, the newspaper reported.
The Post said the three officers, who usually work out of the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx, had been released from the hospital.
Shake Shack had said in a tweet that it was “horrified by the reports of police officers injured” at its downtown Manhattan location and that it was working with the NYPD in its investigation. The restaurant chain did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Paul DiGiacomo, the president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, had issued a statement online Monday night alleging that the three officers were “intentionally poisoned by one or more workers at the Shake Shack at 200 Broadway in Manhattan.”
“After tasting the milkshakes they purchased they became ill,” the statement said.
DiGiacomo urged other officers to “not buy food from locations unknown to you,” adding that police were “under attack.”
In a statement about a “serious safety issue” posted to Twitter, the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York said the officers didn’t realize what they were ingesting until they had already consumed part of their shakes.
“All PBA members are advised to carefully inspect any prepared food items they purchase while on duty for possible contamination,” the statement said. “When New York City police officers cannot even take a meal without coming under attack, it is clear that the environment in which we work has deteriorated to a critical level. We cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment.”
The incident occurred at a precarious time, with protests against police brutality sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continuing across the US. Floyd, a Black man, died following an arrest in which a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. During the incident, he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Democrats in Congress have put forward a sweeping bill that would encourage more police accountability, while President Donald Trump was set to sign an executive order implementing some incremental changes on Tuesday.
Floyd’s death has also sparked a national conversation about police reform and has heightened calls for police officers to end practices like the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants.