Uniformed Officer Kicked Out Of Outback Steakhouse For Having A Gun

A uniformed Tennessee officer was asked to leave an Outback restaurant because he was carrying his duty weapon.

Cleveland, TN – A uniformed Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officer said that Outback Steakhouse management asked him to leave the Cleveland restaurant on Friday night, because he refused to remove his duty weapon from their “gun free zone.”

TWRA Officer Andrew Ward explained the interaction in a Facebook post, and called the situation “a first.”

“While I was at work tonight (in uniform) I stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat supper with my wife,” he wrote in the post. “I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform.”

Officer Ward said that the manager left for a moment to go make a phone call, but then soon returned to his table.

“We were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone,” Officer Ward wrote.

The officer defended the manager in his post, and seemed to recognize that she was delivering a message that was made by someone above her pay grade.

“I don’t blame the manager...but this is ridiculous and we will never go back there ever again,” Officer Ward continued. “What is this country coming to? A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm! I am disgusted and have no other words!!!”

Approximately two hours later, Officer Ward posted an update on the situation.

“The manager has apologized...and stated a lady sitting next to our table felt scared for her life!” the officer wrote. “She said police are shooting people and she could have gotten shot in the parking lot and the manager had to walk...her and her husband to their vehicle.”

“Seriously she was scared for her life?” Officer Ward asked. “We were joking and laughing with our server as we ordered then prayed. What was scary about that?”

In addition to her apology, Officer Ward said the manager told him he would be receiving a $100 gift card, redeemable at multiple restaurants.

"We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their side arms inside our restaurants,” Outback’s parent company, Bloomin Brands, said in a statement to WTVC. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”

“The amount of support our community has shown us is truly humbling,” Officer Ward said in a final post on the matter. “Outback has called and apologized to me and my family and we have truly accepted this apology. There was a mistake made and that’s it... we all make mistakes...and must move forward with our lives.”

"I have spoken with the manger involved, the regional manager and the Vice President of operations for Outback today,” the officer told WTVC in a text message.

“They have apologized profusely and I have accepted their apology and the issue in my opinion has been concluded,” he said.

Do you think that this incident will negatively affect your opinion of Outback Steakhouse? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

Blue Lives Matter is now on LinkedIn. If you have a LinkedIn account, be sure to follow us there.

The Gun free zone is nothing more than a company rule which the officer respected. I hope that when he receives his gift card he takes it to the nearest gang banger on the corner and gives it to him or her so outback can serve the kind of clientele it seems to want.

Outback recognized & apologized for the mistake. I see no malice and neither does the involved Officer so I accept the settlement as a patron of their restaurants.

I am ALWAYS glad to see ANY uniformed law enforcement person in an establishment where I am. These people who are saying negative things about his carrying his weapon really should check the rules and regulations for on duty law enforcement personnel. In most communities they are required to carry a weapon even when OFF duty and out in public.

Gun Free Zone in a restaurant is NOT a law . The manager ought to be fired !

@Frank97230 its private property. The owner determines what happens on their property.

Won't go to any "outback''. The money I'll save, will buy alot of BBQ time.

I was humored by the snowflakes that were afraid of the cop and had to be escorted to the parking lot by the unarmed manager. What did they expect the manager to do if a situation occured in the parking lot? Those type of people should go to and remsin in a safe place,like a mental institution or college.

I also will not spend my money in a place that doesn't respect my rights. I carry concealed and know one would know I have a gun, but I respect their right to ban guns. I imagine Outback thinks bad guys with guns will be deterred by their policy.

No I won't be eating there anymore and not just because of the way they treated this officer. I gave up Denny's for this very reason. Gun free zones are a good place to get shot.

Oh gee, what a surprise a policeman with a gun. Wait, you must leave.

Having worked closely with law enforcement for the past 38 years, this is a broadcast to all criminals to "visit" this establishment. Most restaurants welcome police officers as it sends a message to criminals that at any time we have officers eating here and they will be protecting our patrons! What is this world coming to? God bless all of our men and women who protect us daily. And shame on you Outback!!!

I honestly don't know how to respond to this one. What originally happened was just plain wrong. The reason I say this is because of this: If it truly is the policy and/or practice of Outback Steakhouse to allow officers to wear their weapons inside the restaurant (and that is a no-brainer, OF COURSE we're going to be armed. Do you know what happens to a uniformed officer who is NOT armed? We die.), then why didnt' the local manager tell the woman who was "scared" (yeah, right!) what their store policy was, and SHE is welcome to leave if she is uncomfortable? Just comp her meal, and get her the hell out. She didn't feel uncomfortable---she just wanted to make a scene for the officer, and she won and the officer lost. But the woman only won the battle, the officer won the "war", so to speak.

ONE ADDITIONAL VERY IMPORTANT ITEM. ATTENTION OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE MANAGEMENT!! ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! If anyone who works at Corporate has worked there long enough, then you know exactly what happened at YOUR restaurant in Dublin, California on December 13th, 1998. The Outback Steakhouse IS STILL THERE and has been in constant operation ever since the incident. For those wondering, three suspects entered the restaurant and ordered everyone at gunpoint to empty their wallets, purses, jewelry, etc, onto the table in front of them. Right at the beginning, an Outback employee was able to call 911. However, the suspects saw her doing it and yelled at her to hang up the phone, so she did. However, the connection went through (if only for a brief second). It was long enough for the 911 Communications Center to receive what we call, a "911 Hangup" or a "911 unkown". Two Dublin Police Officers were dispatched to the restaurant (Dublin is a contract city for Alameda County Sheriff's Department, so technically it was two Sheriff's Deputies, but they were driving "Dublin Police" patrol cars). A female deputy arrived first, and a male deputy arrived seconds behind her. There are so many conflicting reports what happened next that I don't know if we will ever know exactly what took place, but the end results is that Deputy John Monego was murdered, the female deputy was not shot but was in shock and never wore a police uniform again. She has severe psychological problems for life. The three suspects (from Oakland if I remember right) were all caught because every single cop in a 50 mile radius desceneded upon Dublin to search every nook and cranny, every home, every outdoor shed, every boat, every RV, every EVERYTHING.....until the cowards were found hiding. Today, we have a street named "John Paul Monego Court", in memory of the Deputy who was murdered.

So, Outback Steakhouse Management, please remember this when you think about the story that is published here today. The question that I would like to have answered is WHY was the police officer asked to leave in the first place? Because according to you, that is not your policy. What SHOULD HAVE been done is that the local store manager tell the woman complaining, "I'm sorry ma'am, but we welcome law enforcement in our business and we always will. If you don't like it, you can always eat elsewhere", and then comp her bill and send her on her way. And I know, I know.....there is probably a 500 pound elephant in the room that everybody is afraid to touch. But i'm not, so let me just say it. In all likelihood, the person doing the complaining was African-American. I say this because of years of experience that I have. If that was the case, then the incident still should have been handled exactly as I described. Skin color means nothing, and we should all be color blind. Do you understand what happens when you treat someone differently because of the color of their skin? What happens is, you're being racial. So ignore skin color and just stick to corporate policy. What took place in that restaurant never should have gotten that far, especially when we KNOW that two officers have been lost protecting your restaurant (one was murdered, the other with severe psych issues for life). Thank you for listening/reading.

This comment is the only one that matters. All others are pale in comparison. Excellent statement.

So if someone treats you poorly or you feel someone treats you poorly you should not use media to air your grievances and if you do you are a snowflake?


if i read between the lines here correctly, the outback restaurants appear to have have a "no legal guns allowed" policy. which means that criminals can rest assured they are only ones to have guns there. easy crime zone, just shoot and disarm all uniforms in room and you will be in charge.

anti-gun laws only remove guns from law abiding citizens
no criminal ever said "no guns allowed? oh, i'm sorry! You can have my gun officer"

anyone who frequents any establishment that displays the no-guns sign is daring criminals to enter and commit armed robbery and other gun related felonies to themselves

"We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their side arms inside our restaurants,” Outback’s parent company, Bloomin Brands, said in a statement to WTVC. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”

They said a mistake was made and apologized for it. Not much else someone can do.

Looks like the owner did determine what happens on his property. LOL

So............they're being robbed and then the cops have to leave their guns outside on the bench and go in and apprehend the armed robber......... People are so stupid.