In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon for police departments to have to put out statements correcting misinformation that people share on social media. However, last week, the Plymouth Police Department had to address false rumors regarding one of its own, along with defending the reputation of a local business.

The department posted on its Facebook page that they “became aware of some hubbub that has been on ‘All Things Plymouth,’ so we investigated.”

“That’s what we do,” the post read. “We’re cops.”

“All Things Plymouth” is the title of a Facebook group with over 65,000 members conversing daily about, well, all things Plymouth.

According to police, the “hubbub” in the group had to do with an officer, identified by the department as Brendan Rix, who was working a detail in the area of the Vela Juice Bar on Court Street when nature called. Officer Rix entered Vela seeking to use the restroom, and was told he could not.

Naturally, this sparked a lot of outrage from commenters on social media. Some speculated that Vela staff and ownership were “anti-police” and that Officer Rix was a victim of “woke” culture.

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It was reminiscent of an incident in New Bedford in 2019, when a New Bedford Police detective on a traffic detail asked to use the restroom at a convenience store and was told he could not. A store clerk later said it was because the restroom was in the back, where “sensitive business documents” were kept. That, too, sparked local outrage, with some suggesting the store had an anti-police stance.

Plymouth Police attempted to clear up the situation between Officer Rix and Vela Juice Bar in order to quell any such rumors in this latest incident.

They said Officer Rix entered Vela seeking to use their restroom.

“He entered (Vela), encountered a packed lobby of people wanting their daily smoothie, and asked to use the men’s room. He was politely told by an employee that they did not have a restroom for public use as they are a ‘grab & go’ establishment,” Plymouth Police wrote in the Facebook post. “Having no emergency, and being in full control of all functions, Officer Rix took the ‘no’ in stride and found another bathroom close by. No big deal.”

Police said that Merry, the manager of Vela, explained to them that “to use the employee bathroom, one has to walk through several storage areas and the kitchen. Due to liability and Board of Health requirements, they say no to EVERYONE, regardless of age, sex, creed, or even uniform.”

According to police, the owner of Vela was very upset with the situation and that there may be members of the community that question whether or not they support the police.

“We appreciate the public coming to our aid, but we are really not into ‘cancel culture,’ especially if the news is WRONG,” police wrote. “Trust us, we know about one-sided news stories.”

Any negative posts about the incident appear to have been removed from the All Things Plymouth group, as well as from the reviews on Vela Juice Bar’s Facebook page.

This just shows that while you may have an emotional gut reaction to many of the things you see on social media, it's always good to make sure all sides of the story are being told before your thumbs start flying and you take a stance that isn't based completely on fact.

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