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‘Tampon’ LAPD Officer Claimed Was Put in His Drink Was Likely Just A Cleaning Cloth, Investigation Reveals

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) on Tuesday said an object found inside an off-duty LAPD officer’s Starbucks beverage last month was not a tampon — as originally alleged — but rather a common cleaning cloth. The probe uncovered no evidence of malicious intent on behalf of the employee or the store.

A felony investigation was launched into the incident after the officer filed a police report alleging a violation of California Penal Code Section 327 (a)(1) PC, which makes it a crime to willfully “mingle any poison or harmful substance with any food, drink, medicine, or pharmaceutical product.”

The police report released by Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated that detectives had interviewed both “the alleged victim and possible suspect” regarding the “alleged poisoned drink” and submitted their conclusion to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office for final review.

“All available video was reviewed by Walnut/Diamond Bar Station Detectives along with interviews of witnesses in this case,” the report said (according to the local FOX affiliate). “Based on the evidence available at this time, the item in the drink was possibly a cleaning type cloth commonly used by store employees. The investigation was unable to prove malicious intent on the part of the store employee. Pending the review and final decision of the District Attorney’s office, there is no further information at this time.”

“[T]he barista admitted to scooping a cleaning cloth that had fallen and unwittingly blending it into the officer’s drink,” the New York Post’s telling of the events explained.

The officer said he was not in uniform when he ordered the drink — but claimed that he used his police union debit card to purchase the beverage, thereby tipping of the employee to his occupation.

Following the officer’s claims, the L.A. Police Protective League issued a statement describing the incident as an “assault” and calling for the employee to be prosecuted.

“This disgusting assault on a police officer was carried out by someone with hatred in their heart and who lacks human decency. We hope they are publicly exposed, fired, arrested, and prosecuted for their cowardly and repugnant actions,” the LAPPL told FOX 11.

The incident is similar to a situation last month in New York City. Several NYPD officers claimed that employees at a Shake Shack intentionally poisoned them. Investigators soon concluded that the officers may have ingested small amounts of a chemical solution used to clean the shake machines that may not have been thoroughly rinsed.

[image via JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.