Police chief makes statement about Grants Pass T-Mobile incident

Update (10/11/18 2:00 p.m.) – Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Chief Bill Landis released the following statement after one of his detectives was kicked out of a local store for carrying a gun:

“I have spoken with corporate and local T-Mobile management and it was conveyed to me that the employee did not act appropriately nor represent T-Mobile and their policies regarding law enforcement.” Chief Bill Landis wrote. “T-Mobile does allow armed sworn police officers in their stores. T-Mobile management has taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen to our police officers or any police officers in any of their stores now or in the future and apologized to the detective personally for the way he was treated.

“There have been incidents of harassment from the public as a result of the social media posting to store employees. Please do not initiate or harass T-Mobile or their employees for the actions of an individual who no longer is affiliated or speaks on behalf of them.”

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An incident at a Grants Pass T-Mobile is resulting in an apology from the company.

Police in Grants Pass even took the time to issue a statement and say local T-Mobile stores have been getting threats.

Many people are outraged; They’re arguing that policy shouldn’t apply to law enforcement officers.

“I don’t expect to be a customer in the future… because of now… because of this…,” said Kennedy Betancourt.

She’s one of many people outraged by an incident that took place at the T-Mobile on Terry Lane Monday.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety says the T-Mobile employee denied services to it’s detective because he wouldn’t take off his firearm. Police say the employee told the detective they had a no gun policy in the store.

“For a police officer to be asked to put his weapon in his car when he’s on the job is not a very smart idea,” said Betancourt. “Because if a situation were to arise and he wasn’t armed, he wouldn’t be able to help anybody.”

The detective was taking personal time off during the day and was still wearing his badge and uniform, according to police.

After leaving the store, the detective’s wife contacted pro-police organization, Blue Lives Matter, who says Detective Ryan Brown then canceled their service with the cell phone company.

“It’s outrageous. It makes no sense…,” said Randy Sutton, a spokesperson for Blue Lives Matter. “And usually it is taking place as, let’s say, a method of shall we say demeaning the law enforcement officer.”

Blue Lives Matter published an article Monday that has hundreds of comments and shares. It later prompted Executive Vice President of T-Mobile, Jon Freier, to speak publicly about the incident on Twitter.

Part of the tweet reads:

“We’ve made contact with Detective Brown to genuinely apologize for this terrible experience. Very poor judgement.”

Blue Lives Matter says T-Mobile has terminated the employee from the company and did reach out to the detective’s family.

“They did there best to make good on what took place, so there’s really no hard feelings here…,” said Sutton.

However, not everyone shares that sentiment.

Grants Pass Police say T-Mobile stores in the area are currently getting threats. The department even sent out a press release Tuesday to address the issue.

It reads in part:

“It is not clear if the employee was speaking on behalf of T-Mobile and we have reached out to T-Mobile regarding policies so that we can appropriately address the issue…”

Meanwhile, the incident’s sparking a greater conversation on social media.

Some who feel police should be treated like everyone else and not carry firearms in the store. While others like Betancourt feel it’s an officer’s duty to wear a firearm at all times.

“They’re always on-duty, even if they’re running an errand to the store or taking a break to stand outside,” she said.

Grants Pass Police say they’re still waiting to hear back from T-Mobile. According to Blue Lives Matter, Detective Brown and his family have since gotten cell service with a new company.

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