Burger King sued over marijuana in police officers' burgers

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Two US police officers have sued Burger King Corp., alleging personal injury, negligence, battery and violation of fair practices after they were served hamburgers that had been sprinkled with marijuana.

"It gives a whole new meaning to the word Whopper," said the officers' attorney Sam Bregman. "The idea that these hoodlums would put marijuana into a hamburger and therefore attempt to impair law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs is outrageous."

The civil lawsuit was filed in state District Court in Bernalillo County by Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon, officers for the Isleta Pueblo tribal police.

Officials at Miami-based Burger King declined to comment, citing a company policy against discussing pending litigation.

The lawsuit says the officers were in uniform and riding in a marked patrol car when they purchased meals through the drive-through lane on 8 October at a Burger King restaurant in Los Lunas, New Mexico

The officers ate about half of their burgers before discovering marijuana on the meat. They used a field test kit to confirm the substance was pot, then went to a hospital for medical evaluations.

Three Burger King employees — Justin Armijo, 19; Robert Nuckols, 21; and manager Joseph Ledesma, 33 — were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and aggravated battery on an officer, a felony. They subsequently were indicted.

The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages to be determined at trial, along with legal costs.

The incident has been publicized in late-night television jokes by comedian Jay Leno and others, and Bregman acknowledged the situation "seems somewhat humorous" at first glance. But he also called it "deadly serious."

"God forbid these officers didn't realize their burgers were laced with pot and then were called to a violent situation where they'd have to draw their firearms," Bregman said. "Their lives were placed in danger because of these idiots and Burger King."