Roasterie founder Danny O'Neill took to social media to complain about a recent traffic ticket for an outdated vehicle registration.
That didn't go over well with national website Blue Lives Matter, which is run by active, former and retired law enforcement officers and their families.
It put up O'Neill's post with the comment: "Rather than take responsibility for going months without paying for his vehicle registration, he suggested that the police were just there to make money."
In the post, O'Neill said he was pulled over in his Tesla and cited for expired plates. He posted photos of the police car behind him, lights flashing, and a copy of the ticket, calling the officer "Barney Fife" (after the bungling deputy sheriff on the old "Andy Griffith Show").
"Citizens of Fairway!!! Know that you are safe. … even safer today after this violation. Officer Barney Fife dutifully chased us through traffic … it was a pretty, sunny day; we saw him weaving in and out of traffic, lights blazing, and were wondering what criminals they were after. Well, surprise of all surprises. … Barney was chasing US! Lights and guns a-blazing … we had an expired tag! Who knew? But wowza was he prepared! $133!"
But O'Neill didn't stop there. He said in the post that talk about the Fairway police over the years at several dinner parties resulted in "total laughter at the overreaction of the Barnie's (sic)."
Officials with the Fairway Police Department confirmed the ticket was issued at 12:40 p.m. March 9 but declined further comment.
O’Neill air-roasted his first batch of beans in the basement of his Brookside home in late 1993. Now the company is sprawled over blocks at 1204 W. 27th St., and it has several Roasterie cafes including locations in Brookside, the Crossroads, Leawood and Westwood.
Roasterie officials said O'Neill is in his Iowa hometown and on a previously planned business trip. But he issued this statement: "I am deeply sorry for remarks made in a social media post about a police officer who issued me a well-deserved violation for expired tags. They don't reflect the great work these courageous men and women do to keep our community safe. To express my apology, I am meeting with the Fairway Police Department and will continue to support, in meaningful ways, Kansas City-area police departments and the officers who perform their invaluable service."
Blue Lives Matter also posted an apology that O'Neill sent to the website: "Many of my friends are members of the Kansas City Police Department and other area police departments. My business offers discounts to area police officers. The Kansas City Police Department will collaborate with my business on a motorcycle safety rodeo later this year. Last summer I made a solo 8,000-mile motorcycle ride to the Arctic Circle to raise more than $25,000 for a KC charity to purchase adaptive bikes for kids—my journey was safe, thanks in large part to police officer friends I consulted with prior to the trip and officers I met along the way."
But Blue Lives Matter asked its followers: "Do you think that O'Neill's social media post was a mistake made in a moment of frustration? Or do you think it shows his real attitude towards police?"
Responses included one from a police officer's wife: "As for this coffee shop, I've taken tons of business to it. Not anymore. Pay for your Tesla without my contribution" and "Of course everybody makes mistakes and says things they later regret. This case is different though, because Danny also said this is a general stereotype that he has believed and perpetuated for a long time."