The Investigators: EBR Sheriff's Deputy fired over McDonald's Fa - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

The Investigators: EBR Sheriff's Deputy fired over McDonald's Facebook post

Tracy Baker (Source: WAFB) Tracy Baker (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

It was Sept. 9, 2015 at the McDonald's in Central on Hooper Rd. Tracy Baker, who was a lieutenant with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, said he was going through the drive-thru when he claims several cars in the other drive-thru lane were moving forward, but not him.

"So I asked, 'Was there a problem?' and she said, 'No, we just busy,' and I said, 'Well, the other line doesn't seem to be busy'," said Baker.

Baker said he went up to the window where the manager gave him his food but he noticed an African American woman with a headset on behind her allegedly saying under the breath, "F---ing a--hole cop" and "Black lives matter too."

Kiran: Were you argumentative at the window at all?
Baker: No.
Kiran: Did you cuss at anyone at any point?
Baker: No, I was in uniform ma'am. I would never curse at anyone over the loud speaker.

He said he told the store's district and regional managers about the alleged incident, but said he later saw that same woman still working there.

So he took to Facebook telling all his followers about what he said happened that day. There were over 700 likes and more than 1,300 shares to that particular post.

Kiran: Why did you post on Facebook?
Baker: I felt like it was a matter of officer safety. A lot of police officers go through that McDonald's.

He said soon after, the owner of that McDonald's, Chris Valluzzo started calling asking to meet with him. Then, on Nov. 4th, Baker was served a letter from the sheriff's office saying because of  "...your Sept. 20, 2015 Facebook post," he was being fired after 26 years with the sheriff's office.

"I asked who had complained and the internal affairs investigator advised me that the sheriff had complained," said Baker.

McDonald's told the 9News Investigators that they fully investigated the deputy's claims and found them to be false, saying they have video that shows their employee did nothing wrong.

Baker's termination letter said his conduct was unbecoming and he allegedly lied to internal affairs in claiming that he did not use his work cell phone or work laptop to create the post.

Kiran: Where was the post posted from?
Baker: From my wife's computer at home.
Kiran: Why did your wife make this post?
Baker: Because I was at work.

Baker's profile picture was a picture of McDonald's with the words, "McDonald's does not back the blue." Last Thursday, Nov. 12th, he received an email containing in it a restraining order banning him from posting any more defamatory statements on any social media about McDonald's, but he said he has yet to be served personally.

"Does not mean a thing to me because until you have been served personally, then it's not in effect," said Baker.

The 9News Investigators reached out to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff, Sid Gautreaux. We were told he would not comment.

Baker told us in his 26 years, he never had a write up or any disciplinary actions. We asked for his personnel file and documentation about his termination, we were denied saying it's an invasion of the employee's privacy. 

McDonald's owner, Valluzzo, said he was not available to interview and instead, issued a lengthy statement:

To our loyal customers and all law enforcement personnel:

Recently, a false claim was made regarding an interaction between one of our McDonald's employees and a customer, who is also a local law enforcement officer. The officer claimed that this employee made a comment that was inappropriate. Since, misleading remarks have been made and posts have been shared on social media claiming that McDonald's "Does not back the Blue."

This sentiment could not be further from the truth. We took the allegations very seriously and promptly and thoroughly investigated the incident. After reviewing the matter in detail, we confirmed with confidence that the McDonald's employee had in fact adhered to our mandated professional, courteous and required Code of Conduct of our employees, particularly to law enforcement officers in our area.

We hold all law enforcement personnel in our area in the highest regard and honor and cherish the sacrifices and protections that they provide to all of us in the community. We consider them our loyal customers, friends, and partners in the community and it is our honor to welcome and serve these loyal public servants.

We will not allow untruths and negative social media posts to interfere with our longstanding relationship with "the Blue." In 2015, as we have in years past, we supported law enforcement officers by providing free meals during National Police Week and the Day of Prayer for Law Enforcement. We thank them for a job well done!  I can personally assure you that we absolutely "Back the Blue!"

You have our highest respect and honor.

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