AP NEWS

Wake sheriff bars deputies from Fuquay bagel shop over racial slur

December 9, 2018

A racial slur recorded from an inadvertent phone call has prompted new Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker to prohibit his deputies from patronizing a Fuquay-Varina bagel shop.

Bill Myers, who owns Bagels Plus, at 100 Dickens Road in Fuquay-Varina, was having what he thought was a private conversation about politics when he unintentionally dialed the number of a contractor with whom he’s had a disagreement. The contractor’s voicemail recorded two minutes of the expletive-filled conversation in which Myers and the other man called Baker by a racial slur, as well as “a lowlife” and “a schemer.”

The disgruntled contractor posted the recording on social media early Friday, and backlash against Myers and his bagel shop quickly followed.

“I had previously enjoyed eating there. But after hearing the owner vomit racial slurs and false claims of importance and influence I will never give him a penny of my money. Panera is right down the road!” one woman posted on the Bagels Plus Facebook page.

“You. Are. A. Racist,” another woman posted.

Myers posted a rambling explanation and apology on Facebook, and in emails to WRAL News, he tried to explain what happened.

“I am not denying that I used the N-word inappropriately,” he wrote. “I understand that it is not an excuse that I was raised at a different time, as part of a different generation, but at my age, people make mistakes from time to time, and hopefully we all learn from them. I know I have.”

“I truly wish to apologize to anyone I may have offended or hurt,” he added.

Baker issued an order Thursday barring employee of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office “from entering upon the premises, conducting business or associating with Bagels Plus” while on duty, in uniform or wearing anything that connects them with the sheriff’s office.

“In the event that you respond to a call at that location or conduct official business of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office at that location, you are required to report your activity immediately to your supervisor,” the memo reads.

During a Friday afternoon news conference, Baker explained why he issued the memo.

“Quite frankly, this office doesn’t support that type of belief, that type of hatred, and we wouldn’t want members of this office in an official capacity to frequent a place who feels that way about law enforcement,” he said.

Fuquay-Varina Police Chief Laura Fahnestock likewise told her officers not to patronize Bagels Plus, Baker said.

“A person is free to go where they choose, but if they’re ... working in anything that represents this office, we’re choosing not to go to that location,” he said.

Myers said he’s “always been extremely close to law enforcement.”

“While I was a strong supporter of [former Sheriff] Donnie Harrison, I would like to also extend an apology to incoming Sheriff Baker,” he wrote in an email.