A recent press release from police is calling out a beloved local business by name. Are they unfairly being targeted with bad publicity?

As someone who's read countless police reports and press releases over the past three decades, I can tell you that it's extremely rare for these news briefs to include the name of a local business. Unless the business is somehow involved in the crime that was committed, it's almost always just the street address that makes its way into the press release.

I guess the reason for this is to protect small businesses from negative press. Police most likely err on the side of caution so as not to drag a company's name through the mud if they don't have to. There are always press releases about shootings, car fires, and accidents that have happened in the parking lots of stores and restaurants that are not specifically identified. We, as reporters, usually have to jump through hoops to verify where these incidents happened because the police declined to mention the name of the local business.

This courtesy seems to be extended to almost all businesses in the Hudson Valley except for one.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Local Hudson Valley Business Getting a Bad Rap?

If someone shoplifts from a store, the name of that store will most likely appear in the press release written by police. However, if there's an unrelated robbery on the street in front of that business, its name is almost always left out of communication with the press. That is, of course, unless the business is named Kennedy Fried Chicken.

For some reason, authorities don't seem to extend the same courtesy to this independently owned chicken franchise. This week there were two high-profile incidents that occurred near the Kennedy Fried Chicken restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie.

After a shooting on Main Street on Saturday night, City of Poughkeepsie police followed standard protocol and described the location as "472 Main Street". Clearly, the restaurant had no involvement in the shooting and, as a result, its name was left out of the press release.

On Tuesday, however, Kennedy Fried Chicken's name appeared multiple times in a press release published by the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office without being connected to any crime.

Dutchess County Sheriff's Office/Google Maps
Dutchess County Sheriff's Office/Google Maps

Chicken Restaurant Called Out by Dutchess County Sheriff

Tuesday's press release began by stating that the District Attorney's drug task force "has been investigating the sale of fentanyl and crack cocaine in the area of Kennedy Fried Chicken located at 472 Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie."

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The official account of the incident goes on to identify the suspect as Jermaine Boykin, an alleged fentanyl dealer from Newburgh "who was frequenting the area of Kennedy Fried Chicken to sell dangerous drugs". Just a sentence later, however, the press release admits that the alleged drug deals were believed to be occurring "at that location and other locations throughout the City of Poughkeepsie".

If that's truly the case, then why was this local business the only one singled out?

There is no indication in the press release that Kennedy Fried Chicken or its employees were involved in these drug deals, so why drag them through the mud?

Google Maps
Google Maps

Unfair Treatment For Kennedy Fried Chicken?

Founded by Afghan immigrants in the late 1960s, Kennedy Fried Chicken has franchises in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Delaware. Mostly serving low-income neighborhoods, the restaurant has been the target of ridicule and referred to by derogatory names that poke fun at the restaurant's economically challenged customers.

Nevertheless, Kennedy Fried Chicken remains quite popular and its deep-fried chicken is generally considered to be superior to many other fast-food franchises.

It's unclear why the Dutchess County Sheriff did not mention the names of other businesses located near these suspected drug deals around the City of Poughkeepsie and only singled out Kennedy Fried Chicken. Sadly, this isn't the first time this small business that serves economically struggling neighborhoods has been targeted and it most likely won't be the last.

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