WASHINGTON -- The Baltimore Police Department can find no record of the time Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was allegedly held up at a Popeyes fast food restaurant, based on information he's provided to the media so far. This disclosure came on Tuesday in response to public records requests filed by The Huffington Post and other news outlets.
The police department’s limited ability to search records from decades ago makes confirmation of the incident difficult. But judging by the sheer number of alleged incidents at the Baltimore location Carson described, his story is entirely plausible.
After the recent mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, Carson made a series of controversial statements about guns. He drew criticism for appearing to suggest to Fox News that the victims could have done more to fight back. “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me," he said. Carson later revealed that he was once threatened by a gunman at a Popeyes restaurant, but had reacted quite differently.
"Guy comes in, puts the gun in my ribs. And I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,'" the candidate told host Karen Hunter on Sirius XM Radio. "He said, 'Oh, okay,' and moved on."
The primary obstacle to finding an official record of this incident seems to be that the Baltimore Police Department cannot search reports prior to 1987 without a police report number. The holdup took place between 1980 and 1983 on the corner of Broadway and Orleans Street, Carson told HuffPost at the National Press Club last week. “It was a Saturday night and we were getting some french fries,” he said.
Carson has said that he did not personally file a police report, but he believes a Popeyes employee did. It's possible that Carson's name would not have been included in such a report, which would also make it difficult to find.
There is a Popeyes at 300 N Broadway in Baltimore that fits the description of the location Carson described. Between January 2000 and August 2015, the Baltimore Police Department reported over 50 alleged "incidents" at that address, including unfounded incidents and multiple allegations of assault and burglary. The police also searched 300 S Broadway as part of the records request.
"Hopefully this explanation is satisfactory for our friends in the media," the Baltimore Police Department wrote.
The Carson campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.
Mariam Baksh contributed reporting.