Starbucks Corp on Sunday apologized after an employee at one of its stores in Tempe, Arizona asked six police officers to leave or move out of a customer’s line of sight, triggering social media backlash.
The officers had visited the store on July 4 and had paid for the drinks, before one company employee approached them about a customer not feeling safe because of the police presence, the Tempe Officers Association said on Twitter.
“This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive,” the association added.
Following the incident, users took to Twitter to support the police, tweeting comments along with the #boycottstarbucks hashtag.
In an apology https://stories.starbucks.com/press/2019/an-apology-to-the-tempe-police-department addressed to the Tempe Police Department and posted on its website, Starbucks said the treatment of the officers was “completely unacceptable.”
“On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4,” Rossann Williams, the coffee chain’s executive vice president, wrote.
“What occurred in our store on July 4 is never the experience your officers or any customer should have, and at Starbucks, we are already taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Last year, the company was mired in a racial profiling incident that involved the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store. Starbucks later settled with the men privately, and temporarily closed 8,000 U.S. stores for anti-bias training.
Starbucks, the coffee giant based in Seattle, is facing a boycott as many of its customers are angry at the response to police presence in one of their stores.
But when one of the customers in the store told management that they felt “unsafe” with the police there the officers were asked to leave.
“It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you, and again, it goes back to — we take great pride of the level of customer service we provide to citizens, Rob Ferraro, president of the police union said.
“And to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me,” he said.
“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,” the union said.
“A statement from the TOA on The July 4th incident and Starbucks’ treatment of police officers: Yesterday, on Independence Day, six Tempe police officers stopped by the Starbucks at Scottsdale Road and McKellips for coffee.
“The officers paid for their drinks and stood together having a cup of coffee before their long 4th of July shift.
“They were approached by a barista, who knew one of the officers by name, because he is a regular at that location. The barista said that a customer “did not feel safe” because of the police presence.
“The barista asked the officers to move out of the customer’s line of sight or to leave. 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. We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue,” it said.
Now customers are furious with the store, and with Starbucks corporate, for not stepping in to do something for the officers and the charge was led by Tomi Lahren.