Did pizzeria call cop a ‘pig’? East Brunswick police investigate
EAST BRUNSWICK — A township pizzeria is facing calls for a boycott after a police officer accused them of writing an anti-cop slur on a pizza box.
The owner denies the officer's version of events. The police department, meanwhile, is investigating.
PBA Local 145 on Saturday said an officer went to Mancini Pizza on Route 18 on Aug. 1.
"While waiting for her food to be prepared, an incident occurred where an employee used a pizza box to transcribe a derogatory comment directed toward the officer. After confronting the employee, the officer left without reimbursement or the food she purchased," Glenn Tabasco Jr., president of the union, said Saturday in an email to New Jersey 101.5.
Days earlier, a message circulating on Facebook identified the word as "pig." The message also called for a boycott, which Tabasco did not repeat in his prepared statement.
Owner Frank Mancini on Friday said the incident was a misunderstanding.
Mancini showed a reporter what he said was the box in question. On the side of the white box was a "P" and a squiggle written with marker. Mancini said it was shorthand for a slice of pizza and garlic knots. He explained that workers write shorthand on the boxes to keep track of orders, and pointed to other boxes with similar writing.
Mancini said his brother was the one who had written on the box and he had tried to explain to the officer that the box was for another customer's order.
"It doesn’t make any sense. We have no animosity toward the police. We love the police. They come in all the time," he said. "It's shocking."
Mancini, who said he met with police officials on Friday, did not allow New Jersey 101.5 to take a picture of the box on Friday. But after the PBA released its statement Saturday, Mancini said he would release a photo and a full statement later in the day.
Mancini said he took down his business' Facebook page after people began posting threats and complaints in response to the boycott message circulating on Facebook. The unsigned boycott message claimed that the PBA looked through the Facebook page and found other "disparaging remarks" about the police department.
The union says it "refutes the claims made by Mancini Pizza regarding the matter and we stand by [the officer's] account of the event."
"The East Brunswick PBA fully supports the officer involved and is troubled over this unprovoked and unsettling incident," Tabasco said. "We consider this to be an affront to the officer involved, the East Brunswick Police Department, and the entire law enforcement community."
Chief James Conroy on Saturday said the incident was under investigation.
“I have met with a representative of Mancini Pizza and I am aware of the fact that this is attracting comments and attention on social media,” Conroy said in a message read by a spokesman.
Conroy added that the department is committed to maintaining positive ties to the community.
“We have a group of the finest and most professional law enforcement officers and staff who I fully trust and support.”
The pizzeria opened in 2011. It reopened at Colchester Plaza after being damaged by a fire two years ago.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email email@example.com.