A police union in Arizona is speaking out after a Starbucks barista reportedly asked several Tempe officers to leave the location on Independence Day.
According to Fox News, the employee is accused of approaching the group of five cops and telling them another customer “did not feel safe” with them inside the store. After the worker reportedly asked them to either move out of the complaining patron’s field of vision or exit the business.
They say they chose the latter option, but the Tempe Officers Association sparked widespread backlash by posting an account of the incident in a series of scathing tweets.
1/4 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…
— Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 6, 2019
The posts helped launch the #DumpStarbucks hashtag on Twitter and gave competing coffee shops an opportunity to solicit business from the law enforcement community by offering discounts and other incentives.
Beyond the outrage over this report, though, Tempe Officers Association President Rob Farrow said it is only a sign of a much larger problem.
“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,” he said.
A Starbucks corporate spokesperson provided a statement apologizing and promising to investigate further.
“We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community,” Reggie Borges said. “We’ve reached out to the Tempe Police Department and Tempe Officers Association to better understand what happened and apologize. 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.”
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