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TX restaurant kicks out police officer over ‘no gun’ policy

Fogo de Chao (Josh Hrach/Flickr)
July 31, 2019

A police officer was kicked out of the Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse in San Antonio, Texas because he was carrying his service pistol.

The officer showed up at the restaurant on Saturday night to celebrate a family birthday while wearing his uniform, gun, and his badge, but around a half-hour later, he was approached by the manager on duty and asked to leave because the restaurant has a “No Guns” policy, Newsweek reported.

The officer told the manager that police officers are protected by law to be served while in uniform, but the manager insisted the officer leave, and he ultimately complied with the request to avoid making a scene.

Texas law states that “An establishment serving the public may not prohibit or otherwise restrict a peace officer or special investigator from carrying on the establishment’s premises a weapon that the peace officer or special investigator is otherwise authorized to carry, regardless of whether the peace officer or special investigator is engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s or investigator’s duties while carrying the weapon,” News 4 San Antonio reported.

President of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association Mike Helle said this incident was nothing more than the manager “not knowing the law.”

“They would have been in the right if it was just a private citizen carrying like that, but the law is very specific when it comes down to a police or peace officer,” Helle said.

He added, “I am afraid that it boils down to education. I would like to think they are not anti-police or that that individual who asked him to leave is not anti-police, but I think he probably wasn’t educated on what the law allows or doesn’t allow.”

“They kind of made a boo-boo on this one and I’m sure the officer, he could have held his ground, but he didn’t, given that he didn’t want to cause a scene. We just hope that Fogo de Chao learned from this and that other businesses can learn from it as well,” Helle concluded.

The upscale steakhouse apologized for the incident and took to social media to issue a statement.

“A law enforcement officer who was dining at our San Antonio location recently was asked to leave the premises by our staff because he was carrying a firearm. We made a mistake by asking him to leave and sincerely apologize to the officer and to the San Antonio Police Department for this unfortunate lapse in judgment,” the restaurant posted to its Facebook page.

“We are working hard to address and correct the matter, and that includes us apologizing directly to the officer and training our team members on the laws in relation to firearms on business premises. We support, respect and appreciate everything our law enforcement does to keep us safe, every day,” the restaurant vowed.

In regard to the apology, Helle said, “We thank the owners of Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse for acknowledging the mistake by one of their employees and for issuing a statement of support of San Antonio Police Officers. While we hope this wasn’t an example of anti-police bias, at the very least this incident shows that public-serving establishments need to be better educated about state gun laws, particularly as they apply to Police Officers.”