Starbucks Corp. apologized to the Tempe Police Department in Arizona after six officers were asked to leave a Tempe coffee shop on Independence Day.
The Tempe Officers Association said in a statement that six of its officers stopped by a Starbucks coffee shop in Tempe for coffee on July Fourth.
The group paid for their drinks and stood together having coffee, when they were approached by a barista who informed them that a customer “did not feel safe” due to their presence.
The barista asked the officers to “move out of the customer’s line of sight or leave.” Ultimately, the officers left the store disappointed.
“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,” the officers association said.
Prior to releasing the statement, the association criticized Starbucks on Twitter and released an altered image of the coffee giant that shows a hand pouring out coffee and reading “Dump Starbucks”. The hastag “#DumpStarbucks” trended on Twitter.
Starbucks later apologized to the Tempe Police Department for the incident and said it has deep appreciation for the department as well as the officers who serve the Tempe community.
In a statement, Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president of U.S. Retail said that the police officers should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by the company’s employees. Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which was “completely unacceptable.”
“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,” Williams said.
Earlier in 2018, Starbucks had closed its chain of 8,000 stores for one day for diversity training. An employee at one of the company’s Philadelphia location called police that led to the arrest of two African American men, who were sitting in the store.
The incident prompted a change in Starbucks’ policy that no order is required to spend time in their store or to use the restrooms.
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