Two Chipotle chief executives have apologized to New York City police officers who were greeted by a restaurant employee making the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture popular with protesters, reports the Associated Press.

Co-Chief Executive Officers Steve Ells and Monty Moran said in a statement Monday that the employee's action appeared to be spontaneous. They said it happened at one of their Brooklyn restaurants on Dec. 16 when a group of nine police officers entered. They said the officers were not refused service, but chose to leave after encountering the gesture while in line.

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