- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2019

Another Starbucks controversy is brewing after six Arizona police officers said a barista asked them to leave because a customer “did not feel safe” in their presence.

The Tempe Officers Association said the officers had purchased drinks and were standing and talking before their shift on the Fourth of July when a barista, who knew one of them by name, approached the group at a Tempe location.

“The barista said that a customer ‘did not feel safe’ because of the police presence,” said the police union in a Friday statement. “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 association, which posted a “Dump Starbucks” logo on Twitter, called the barista’s request “offensive.”

“This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive,” said the statement. “Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”

The union added, “We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue.”



In a statement to Fox10 in Phoenix, Starbucks said it was looking into the incident and apologized for “any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior.”

“We have deep respect for the Tempe Police Department and its service to our community,” said the Starbucks statement. “We have reached out to understand better what may have happened in our store, and to apologize for any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place.”



Rob Ferraro, president of the TOA, told Fox10 that “to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me.”

“It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you,” he said.

While police have become a favorite target of the left in recent years, shooing away officers from a public establishment for making a customer feel unsafe may be a first.

In June, a Kay Jewelers in North Carolina refused to allow an on-duty uniformed officer entry to pick up an engagement ring with his service revolver. The manager was ultimately fired for what Townhall.com’s Matt Vespa called the “bout of stupidity.”

Starbucks came under fire in April 2018 after a Philadelphia store had two black men arrested for refusing to leave after sitting down without ordering, prompting the national chain to overhaul its policies and close its locations for a day for sensitivity training.

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