NOTE: The person depicted in the post mentioned in the video above is an actor. The photo/post does not actually depict a deceased police officer, though some viewers may still find the image disturbing.
SANTAQUIN, Utah -- For the last 30 years, Leslie Broadhead has been best known for her cooking and her family.
“My mother opened it December 15, 1984,” Broadhead said.
But this week, her restaurant, Leslie’s Family Tree in Santaquin, started gaining recognition out of the kitchen and online.
On the restaurant’s Facebook page, a customer shared a post that the restaurant’s cook had written on a personal page. It was an image of a dead police officer, with a caption that read, “This is what a good cop looks like.” The image is of an actor and does not depict an actual person.
“I thought it was horrible,” Broadhead said.
Within a few days, the post received a slew of criticism from all around the state and country, condemning the employee and his employers for the image.
“It’s just been overwhelming,” Broadhead said. “I keep thinking, ‘How did I get tied up in the middle of something that I had nothing to do with?’”
The restaurant’s cook, Shawn Peterson, told FOX 13 News he posted the image on his personal page last week in response to police cases he’s followed nationally.
“If I get on Facebook, that’s all I see is this cop has killed this person, and this cop has killed that person,” he said. “It scares me.”
But he never intended for that opinion to go public.
“My emotion got the better of me,” Peterson said. “I found a meme that was on Facebook, that was already there and shared multiple times, and I made a stupid choice.”
After the response online, Peterson told Broadhead to fire him, which she did on Tuesday.
“I never intended for it to go to the restaurant; they’re great people,” Peterson said. “It was a horrible description. It was a mistake. It was a mistake.”
While they have received some support, the restaurant is now receiving more criticism for letting Peterson go.
“He has a right to his beliefs, but I don’t know how it got put on my Facebook, on the restaurant’s Facebook,” Broadhead said. “I fired him because it hurt my business.”
All week, they have been offering free meals to law enforcement in an effort to express their appreciation for their work.
“It’s been really frustrating, especially watching my Mom go through it,” said Broadhead’s daughter, Cory Egan.
While their name has taken a hit online in the last few days, Broadhead is hoping her history in the Santaquin community will outshine the negative.
“I’ve just had a rough day today,” she said. “It’s just been overwhelming.”