A local restauranteur was in hot water following a deleted Facebook post that said “F*** Harrison police” after what appeared to be a fairly standard meal donation ended in controversy, both sides said today that they have made peace – though not everyone is on board yet.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Who can see a difference? F*** HARRISON POLICE! WHO CAN’T APPRECIATE A GOOD DEED! I’ll die a man of my word!,” said one iteration of a deleted Facebook post from the Spanish Pavillion earlier this month – referencing a May 6th post from the Harrison Police Department.
On May 6th, the HPD publicly thanked the local education association for “donating meals to every squad.”
“We are proud and honored to give these very deserving members of the community a token of our respect and gratitude for all that they are doing for the students and families of Harrison,” Harrison Education President Karen Greene-Pace said in a post on the NJEA’s website.
Law Enforcement Today indicated that the friction stemmed from one of the restaurant owners, Michael Millan Fernandez, not being included in the photo after an uncomfortable exchange with a female officer – despite his eatery being the place that prepared the meals.
In another deleted post, Fernandez apologized from his business account, stating that “I most sincerely regret” his previous post, later adding that “I am only human and I felt hurt and disrespected and took it out in a way I shouldn’t have.”
In a statement issued by the entire department, the HPD said that Chief David Strumolo met with Fernandez this morning and they settled their differences.
“Like any other viral video or news worthy topic, the news of Mr. Fernandez’s comment on the restaurant’s Facebook page, spread quickly through the small town circles until it was removed. Removing the comment did little to combat the screen shots of the post, which continued to appear on various private and organizational pages,” they wrote.
” … Mr. Fernandez offered his apology to Chief Strumolo and the Harrison Police Department. The Harrison Police Department remains committed to maintaining a professional department and this lapse in judgment in Mr. Fernandez’s comment will not impact the service it provides to all members of the Harrison Community.”
Speaking with HCV, Fernandez reiterated that he regretted the strongly-worded post, noting that he’s hopeful he’ll be judged based on his full body of work, not one poor decision.
“A man’s legacy is based on his history not one lapse of judgment. My history has always been very supportive of all police and law enforcement and I assure it will continue to be.”
However, after this story was published, Harrison PBA Local 22 President Allan Patrick said in statement that Fernandez has not tried to rectify this situation with anyone from his union, and expressed frustration with his initial post.
“You did your job & delivered food from your business that was purchased by the Harrison Teachers. Your original post is totally out of line,” he stated.
On Saturday, the Spanish Pavillion posted a town proclamation issued to Fernandez and his business partner back in 2017 recognizing them for being selected as “outstanding civilian supporters” by the Crime Clinic Detectives of Metropolitan New Jersey and New York.
“In no way does being previously honored by this organization imply that we condone current improper sentiments by a past supporter,” they posted on their Facebook page this afternoon.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.