City of Independence, Missouri

City’s statement on Feb. 9 Applebee’s incident

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – On Friday, Feb. 9, the Independence Police Department was called by Independence Center mall security to assist at the Applebee’s restaurant on what was reported as a theft. Applebee’s has since identified this request as having racial undertones on behalf of its staff, and three restaurant employees were terminated by Applebee’s as a result of their actions.

Since the event transpired on Friday, the officer’s professional conduct has been carefully and thoughtfully reviewed by the Professional Standards Unit to ensure compliance with departmental policy. The City of Independence does not comment on any findings or outcomes with regard to the matters of personnel.

“For many years, our officers have been regularly called to assist businesses within Independence Center and this relationship is an important tool to reduce crime and disorder,” Chief Brad Halsey said. “Applebee’s has taken steps to address this situation. We carefully consider each interaction of our officers with the public for opportunities to learn and train to better serve our community.”

The department provides continuing education training on a regular basis for each of its officers.  The newest program, Fair and Impartial Policing Practices, includes implicit bias recognition.  Further, policies and procedures related to this incident are being evaluated to determine if changes are appropriate for the future.

“We sincerely regret the negative experience the young women involved had in our City,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “City staff receive regular training on diversity and sensitivity to ensure the diverse populations we work with have a fair, equal and inclusive experience. We make every effort to provide the highest standard of service and hold our staff to these high standards.”