Starbucks Apologizes for Kicking Out Uniformed Police Officers

starbucks Justin SullivanGetty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Starbucks issued an apology for kicking out uniformed police officers over the concerns of a customer who did “not feel safe” by their presence.

Starbucks released the open apology on its website Sunday.

“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 (employees),” Rossann Williams, the executive vice president, wrote, adding that their mistreatment was “completely unacceptable.”

Williams expressed the company’s “deep appreciation” for the police department and officers who serve, noting that they rely on and welcome their presence, which “keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.”

The letter continued:

Our strong relationship with the Tempe Police Department has provided us the opportunity to host several “Coffee with a Cop” events in area stores, which bring residents and police together to discuss relevant issues and find common ground. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with you, and we agree that the experience of your officers requires an important dialogue – one that we are committed to being part of.

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.

I will be in Tempe this evening and welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you in person to address concerns or questions.

The letter comes days after a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona kicked out six uniformed police officers after complaints from a customer, who reportedly felt unsafe.

“Don’t appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019,” the Tempe Officers Association tweeted July 5. “Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect”

The Tempe Officers Association followed up in a series of tweets, explaining what took place:

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.

#DumpStarbucks quickly gained steam on social media, with many people pledging to boycott Starbucks and expressing their support for police officers across the country.

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