Burlington police officers denied service at popular eatery

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:03 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Tensions between demonstrators and police are now being felt in a popular Burlington restaurant after officers were denied service.

“I want officers to feel like they are part of this community,” Acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Henry’s Diner is a breakfast and lunch staple in the Queen City, where plates are piled high with hearty, comfort foods.

But a handful of Burlington cops felt anything but comfortable when they recently tried to get a bite to eat. The officers-- who are regular customers-- were denied service by their server.

It comes as a protest outside the police department enters its fourth week. Demonstrators are demanding three officers be fired for what they call excessive use of force. That includes a fight between Douglas Kilburn and Ofc. Cory Campbell at the UVM Medical Center last year. Kilburn died three days later. Two other Burlington officers, Joseph Corrow and Jason Bellavance, were also accused of excessive force.

Investigators determined there was no criminal wrongdoing in any of these cases.

Protesters aren’t buying it and their calls for action against the three men appear to be feeding some public backlash now.

The restaurant’s owners were too upset to talk on camera but said this is not the diner’s policy and this was the action of one individual. That employee has been fired. We also learned another employee is resigning over the matter and the entire staff was told this behavior will not be tolerated.

The owners of Henry’s Diner say they’ve never discriminated against anyone and that everyone is welcome through their doors.

Murad says that’s the recipe to begin the healing.

“I want our officers to be as comfortable as possible, I want the community to be as comfortable with our officers as possible,” Murad said. “We’re all in this together. The only way to move forward is as a community together.”

I reached out to Mayor Miro Weinberger for comment but his spokesperson said the mayor was too busy getting ready for Monday night’s City Council meeting to prepare a comment in time for our broadcast.

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