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Starbucks Apologizes to Tempe Police After Barista Asked 6 Police Officers to Leave When a Customer Complained about Not Feeling Safe

Sun July 07 2019 1:17 pm  https://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=578028
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Starbucks apologized Saturday July 6, 2019 following reports that an employee asked six police officers to leave one of the company’s stores in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe. Why? Because a customer reported feeling unsafe.

In a letter addressed to the Tempe Police Department, the executive vice president of Starbucks and president of U.S. Retail at Starbucks Rossann Williams apologized on behalf of Starbucks for the negative experience the six Tempe police officers had with Starbucks during the July 4, 2019 incident.

“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 said. “Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.”

According to the Tempe Officers Association (TOA), the officers had bought their drinks and were standing together before their patrol shift started. A Starbucks barista asked them to move out of the customer’s line of sight or leave. The Starbuck’s barista even knew one of the officers by name because he’s a regular customer, according to the Tempe Officers Association.

TOA Facebook Statement

“We take offense with Starbucks at McKellips & Scottsdale Rds for asking our Tempe Officers to leave the establishment on July 4th after paying for coffee and taking a pause while working to protect the freedom so many take for granted…like enjoying a holiday with friends and family. Several of those officers asked to leave are veterans who fought for this country.

Zero Respect…”

— TOA post on Facebook (July 5, 2019 at 3:55 p.m.)

“A statement from the Tempe Officers Association 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 and stood together having a cup of coffee. 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.”

— TOA post on Facebook (July 5, 2019 at 6:39 p.m.)

Starbucks’ Rossan Williams said no customer should have the experience the officers had, and that Starbucks is taking the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Williams said Sunday that she had spoken to Tempe Arizona Police Chief Sylvia Moir and was en route to Tempe to meet with her and the employees at Starbucks.

“At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community,” Williams said in a statement. “Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.”

The incident ignited debate on social media and sparked the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks and #dumpStarbucks.

In May 2018, Starbucks closed 8,000 locations during the afternoon for anti-bias training nationwide after a Starbacks manager at a Philadelphia store called police on April 12, 2018 when two black men asked to use the bathroom without making a purchase, and then sat down at a table without making a purchase. The incident also prompted outrage on social media against Starbucks.







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