The manager of a Tempe, Arizona, Starbucks reportedly asked several police officers to leave the establishment because at least one customer “didn’t feel safe” around them, Phoenix’ KSAZ-TV reports.
The incident happened on Thursday, July 4. According to the Tempe Officers Association, five officers had gone to an undisclosed location in the city and ordered their drinks. They were standing near the front of the establishment, waiting for their orders, when they were told they weren’t welcome.
Specifically, according to Fox News, a barista told the cops that at least one customer didn’t feel safe around the cops. The barista told them they would either have to get out of the offended customer’s line of sight or leave the building. They left.
The police officers’ union, the Tempe Officers’ Association, is not too happy about it. In a Twitter post, the union called for a boycott of Starbucks.
“Don’t appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect”
Similarly, union spokesperson Rob Ferraro, while not specifically calling for a boycott, did say that his officers take great care to serve the community with care and respect, so he doesn’t understand why anyone would feel unsafe around his colleagues.
“We take great pride of the level of customer service we provide to citizens, and to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me,” he said.
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told The Arizona Republic that the company is looking into the matter to try to gather more information about what happened.
“We want everyone in our stores to feel welcomed and the incident described is not indicative of what we want any of our customers to feel in our stores,” he said.
This is not the first time that a business has asked police officers to leave the premises simply because someone didn’t want them there. In one particular case involving Hasta Muerta coffee shop in Oakland, California, police weren’t welcome at all. As CNN reported in 2018, the owner of that particular establishment said that he was “keeping the peace” by asking cops not to patronize his business. The policy caused outrage among police officers and their supporters, with calls for a boycott of the business.