Six Arizona police officers were asked by a barista to leave a Starbucks on the 4th of July because a customer “did not feel safe.”
The Tempe police officers stopped by the store for coffee, had already paid for their drinks and were standing around together when a barista approached.
She said they were making a customer feel unsafe and asked them to move out of the customer’s sight or leave. The officers were disappointed but chose to leave, according to the Tempe Officers Association.
“While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive,” the association wrote in a Facebook post. “Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”
The association also made another post with an image of a hand pouring out a coffee cup along with the words “Dump Starbucks,” which later became a trending hashtag on social media.
The Tempe Police Department said in a statement on Friday that they hope it was an “isolated incident between one community member and a single employee, rather than an entire organization.”
An apology statement released by Starbucks indicated the company spoke with Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir on Saturday to discuss the situation.
“When those officers entered the store and a customer raised a concern over their presence, they should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners,” Starbucks wrote. “Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.”
Starbucks said it’s taking steps to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again in the future.
This controversy comes just over a year after more than 8,000 Starbucks stores closed for anti-bias training on May 29, 2018, following the arrest of two black men accused of loitering in a Philadelphia store.
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