A Starbucks barista asked a group of Tempe, Arizona, cops to leave a store on the Fourth of July because a customer said they felt unsafe in the officers’ presence.
The Tempe Police Association said in a series of tweets on Friday that six officers were in the store prior to their shift when a barista who knew one of the cops asked the group to either move out of view of the customer, or leave the store altogether.
“The barista said that a customer ‘did not feel safe’ because of the police presence,” the Tempe Police Association said.
“Disappointed, the officers did in fact leave.”
“This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019,” the association added. “We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue.”
The group posted an additional message saying that several of the officers were military veterans. They also posted a graphic reading “Dump Starbucks,” with a cup of coffee being poured out.
A Starbucks spokesman said that the company was investigating the situation and has reached out to the Tempe Police Association to apologize.
“This sort of action or step by a barista is not indicative of the way we want our officers treated in the stores,” Reggie Borges, a spokesman for Starbucks, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We couldn’t apologize more for how they felt and it’s really not an indication of how we feel about law enforcement,” he added, pointing to Starbucks’ “Coffee with a Cop” program as evidence that the company supports law enforcement officers.
Borges did not dispute the sequence of events described by the Tempe Police Association. He also said it was too early to say whether the barista will face disciplinary action over the incident.
Starbucks was at the center of controversy last year after a barista in Philadelphia called police on two black men who used a store bathroom without buying anything. The barista claimed that the men refused to leave the store.
The incident led to protests at the Philadelphia store. On May 29, 2018, Starbucks shut down its 8,000-plus stores for the day to hold racial bias training seminars.