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'The Butler' viewers report police presence at screening

A Washington D.C. woman says a weekend trip to see the movie, “The Butler” was marred by the presence of police inside the theater.
This film image released by The Weinstein Company shows Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines, left, and Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines in a scene from "Lee...

A Washington D.C. woman says a weekend trip to see the movie, “The Butler” was marred by the presence of police inside the theater.

Tiffany Flowers says she and her boyfriend, Alan Hanson, were attending a screening of the Lee Daniels film at the Regal Cinemas Majestic Stadium 20 theater in Silver Spring, Maryland Saturday, when the experience turned sour. She said that after waiting in line and having their tickets double validated, with the second ticket taker just ten feet from the first employee to tear their stubs, she and Hanson approached the theater entrance, only to find a police officer directing people’s movements.

Flowers told theGrio the officer “herded everybody to the right, and then around the corner there’s another police officer, then we round the corner and there’s a third police officer.”

She said the uniformed police who remained inside the theater throughout the show were not in uniform, but dressed in all black with their badges exposed, and wearing bullet-proof vests, and that she later learned they were contracted by the Montgomery County Police Department. The Department did not have a spokesman available on Sunday.

And she said the crowd inside the theater was anything but rowdy.

UPDATE: Russ Nunley, a spokesman for Regal Cinemas, emailed theGrio the following statement Sunday afternoon:

Regal Entertainment Group routinely employs security personnel to ensure the safety all of our guests and staff. When a theatre experiences sold out showings of any feature, security will assist with crowd control and guest assistance throughout the facility, including auditoriums.This weekend our Majestic theatre experienced a tremendous guest response to the feature the ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ such that additional showtimes were added to meet our guests demands.At no time did local management receive any guest complaints or concerns about our security or staff, who worked diligently to meet all of our guests needs.To the extent any guests were dissapointed with their experience, we welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and provide them the best entertainment experience possible in their future visits to our theatres. [sic]

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