“#DumpStarbucks” started trending on Twitter after news surfaced that a barista at a Tempe, Arizona store reportedly asked police officers to leave because they were making customers feel unsafe.
The Tempe Officers Association tweeted that six police officers stopped at a Starbucks on the 4th of July before their shift and were approached by a barista who said a customer “did not feel safe” because of their presence and asked them to either remove themselves from the complaining customer’s line of sight or leave.
On the 4th of July a barista @Starbucks asked a group of police officers to leave or move out of sight because some idiot felt unsafe with police drinking coffee.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) July 6, 2019
A tweet posted by the Tempe Officers Association (TOA) asserted that six Tempe Police Department officers were drinking coffee before their shift at a Starbucks when the barista made the request.
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 pic.twitter.com/oGaDKhlYX3
— Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 5, 2019
According to the narrative provided in the Tempe Officers Association tweet, the following events transpired at a Tempe Starbucks outlet on July 4:
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.
The Tempe Officers Association claims “such treatment has become all too common in 2019” and said it will “look forward to working collaboratively” with Starbucks to address the incident.
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.
Rob Ferraro, president of the police union, told Phoenix television station KSAZ in a phone interview that “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.”
A Starbucks spokesperson told USA Today that the company was gathering details about the incident, and had reached out to the Tempe Police Department and the Tempe Officers Association to apologize and ask for time to “better understand what happened.”
“We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community,” spokesman Reggie Borges told the newspaper. “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.”
Starbucks was at the center of another storm of outrage last year, when two black men were kicked out of an outlet in Philadelphia, accused of trespassing. The store manager called the police on the two men for loitering without buying anything, but the ensuing backlash saw protesters descend on the store, and Starbucks close 8,000 stores nationwide for racial sensitivity training.
Starbucks also threw its bathrooms open to non-customers in the aftermath of the incident, a decision that led to a sharp rise in drug addicts using the bathrooms to shoot up. After numerous employee complaints, the company began installing needle disposal bins in its bathrooms earlier this year.