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CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Facebook post of a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer went viral after he says he was kicked out of Outback Friday night.

He says he stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat dinner with his wife.

Andrew Ward says he was approached by the manager and asked to put his gun in his truck.

Ward says he told her that he couldn’t because he was in uniform.

Ward posted to Facebook that she made a call and returned to the table to ask him to leave because Outback is a gun free zone.

“I don’t blame the manager… but this is ridiculous and we will never go back there ever again,” says Ward on Facebook.

Ward says “A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm!”

He went on to say, “I am disgusted and have no other words!!!”

He later posted that Outback reached out and apologized for the incident.

Ward says that they told him, “there was another customer that was ‘scared for her life’ who was seated across from us”.

Ward went on saying that he was told that the customer stated that she was afraid because “police are shooting people.”

He was told that this customer demanded to be escorted to her vehicle, “out of fear of being shot”.

Ward says he is thankful he is “humbled” by the support he and his wife received.


In this post, Ward goes on to say, “If we move forward and learn from our past mistakes they are no longer mistakes but Lessons! I am not nor will I ever be a perfect man…. there was only one perfect man ever to walk this earth and He died some 2000 years ago to forgive my sins.”

Ward tells News 12 that he is very thankful for the support from the community because he believes it truly helped remedy a situation. He believes the problem has been solved and wants to move on.

Ward declined an interview but spoke with News 12 on Facebook. 

Outback sent us a statement saying, “We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their sidearms inside our restaurants. A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”

Sheriff Eric Watson posted a statement about the incident to Facebook.

Watson says, “I was very saddened to hear the reports of a law-enforcement officer who was asked to leave a restaurant in this community. While I truly respect the restaurant for reaching out to the officer, our community must also show support to the men and women who place the badge on their chests every single day in order to protect the establishment in which the officer was asked to leave.”

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  • Peter Mitas

    I guess we know what restaurant will be the target of armed robberies since the police are no longer welcome there.

    • max

      It was a Tennessee Wildlife Officer, not a Police Officer.

      • Keal G Seo

        Actually TWRA officers have statewide authority, on both public and private land with full arrest powers.

        I don’t agree with Outback’s apology though. Badges don’t grant extra rights and shouldn’t get special treatment. Why is him protecting himself, his family and others any more important than other gun owners? Equal treatment for all. Either everyone can carry or no one can.

        • Joseph Horner

          You’re an idiot..just because he is a cop doesn’t mean he is a bad one. He had just got off work and was trying to eat! Its one thing to call a cop out on bullshit and another to hate cops for no reason. Its not extra rights..you have the right to carry a weapon, however in a business it is owners discretion.

          • Lucinda Ballantyne

            The news report said clearly he was On Duty AND having dinner with his wife. I wish my husband got paid his wage while we enjoy a lovely social/romantic dinner.

          • Joseph Horner

            Have you ever had a job and went on a lunch break? Most jobs like this are not paid by the hour, which means when they do work over, they don’t get paid for it..so keep talking about shit you know nothing about!

      • FlyingPig

        Let’s see that excuse works for you comrade in a court of law

  • Nick

    Gun free zones are great targets for criminals or maybe armed robbers will see the gun free zone sign and choose another store to rob. After all, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to make anyone feel “unsafe”. Boycott Outback now.

  • Lucinda Ballantyne

    He was ON DUTY and eating dinner with his wife. I don’t like the idea of him receiving a wage (paid by hard working tax payers) to sit and have a social dinner with his wife…. Why isn’t this an issue?

  • Lucinda Ballantyne

    Hey Honey, I work until 8pm tonight. Let’s meet at Outbacks for Date Night at 6:30!

  • Lucinda Ballantyne

    while I was at work tonight (in uniform) I stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat supper (AKA enjoy Date Night and get paid yay!) with my wife.