Starbucks Executives, Police Meet After 6 Officers Were Asked to Leave Store

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
July 9, 2019US News
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Starbucks Executives, Police Meet After 6 Officers Were Asked to Leave Store
A Starbucks coffee cup is seen inside a Starbucks Coffee shop. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The six officers who were asked to leave a Starbucks met with company leadership and the Tempe, Arizona, chief of police on July 9.

The six officers were asked to leave the coffee shop July 4 after a barista approached them and said a customer “did not feel safe” because of the large police presence.

The incident sparked backlash from the law enforcement community on social media including the Tempe Officers Association, who created a graphic with a hand pouring out coffee reading “Dump Starbucks.” The graphic also led to the hashtag #DumpStarbucks on social media.

On Monday, the officers association released a statement saying the meeting between the officers, police chief and Starbucks “went very well.”

“Starbucks again sincerely apologized for its role in the incident,” the statement read. “In turn, the officers involved were given the opportunity to express in person their concerns over what happened. They came away from the meeting feeling heard and respected.”

The association added that they hope the incident “reaffirms the important and strong connection between our cops and our community.”

“While this situation may have started steeped in negativity, we remain determined to turn it into a positive moment for one and all,” their statement read.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir tweeted about the meeting Monday, saying “we had a profound few days with the @Starbucks team & we are doubling down on our commitment to join together in service of all people!”

The tweet contained a statement from the police department that said the dialogue in the meeting was “meaningful and positive.”

“Both organizations and the individuals involved in the meetings remain committed to serving and safeguarding communities while fostering inclusiveness, dignity and respect,” the statement read.

On Twitter, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson thanked Moir, the police department and the officers association for the “ongoing constructive dialogue.”

“We are grateful for your service and will continue to learn from this moment,” Johnson tweeted.

July 4 Incident

According to the Tempe Officers Association, six Tempe Police Department officers stopped at a Starbucks in the city for coffee on Thursday.

After paying for their drinks, the officers “stood together having a cup of coffee before their long Fourth of July shift,” the association said. “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,” the association added.

It then criticized Starbucks for what happened.

“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,” the association stated.

The Police Department said it hoped the incident was an isolated incident.

Rob Ferraro, president of the association, said that people shouldn’t necessarily boycott Starbucks over what happened but called what happened “perplexing.”

“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, and to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me,” Ferraro told Fox 10.

Reactions

The incident has sparked heated debate on social media. Supporters of the police have launched a #boycottstarbucks campaign on Twitter. A number of social media users reacting to the news responded negatively to the barista’s reported actions.

“Sad state in America when Police are asked to leave @Starbucks because customers were uncomfortable?” wrote Paul Babeu, a former sheriff in Arizona.

“I hope the Tempe police, their families, and all those who support the police officers never set foot in that Starbucks again,” wrote another user.

The CNN Wire and NTD reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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