- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Starbucks executives sought to ease tensions by meeting Monday with the six police officers asked to leave a store in Tempe, Arizona, because a customer said they made him feel unsafe.

Rob Ferraro, president of the Tempe Officers Association, said that the Starbucks leadership met with the officers and Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, and that the gathering “went very well.”

Starbucks again sincerely apologized for its role in the incident,” Mr. Ferraro said in a Monday post on Facebook. “In turn, the officers involved were given the opportunity to express in person their concerns over what happened. They came away from the meeting feeling heard and respected.”

The six officers had purchased drinks and were standing and talking before their shift on the Fourth of July when a barista asked them to move or leave, telling them that a customer “did not feel safe.”

The officers left, but the union later slammed Starbucks, calling the request “offensive” and “disheartening.”

The police union did not call for a boycott of Starbucks, but supporters on social media reacted with angry posts and hashtags such as #DumpStarbucks and #BoycottStarbucks.

After a discussion Sunday with police, Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams issued a statement apologizing for the incident and saying she would arrive in Tempe to meet with police in person.

She also apologized for the incident and said “we are already taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”

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

Some of the department’s supporters were still steamed.

Starbucks is just sorry they got caught. I will never go back again. I will go to Gold Bar, Extreme Bean, Dunkin’, or McDonalds,” said Carri Black of Tempe in a Monday post on the union’s Facebook page.

Tempe is located about 10 miles from Phoenix, where public outrage is running high over video released three weeks ago showing Phoenix police drawing their guns on a couple with a baby after their toddler allegedly took a doll from a dollar store.

Several of those commenting on Facebook cited the incident.

“I know why the customer felt afraid to be around 6 police officers,” Dan Inocencio posted.

After meeting with Starbucks brass, Mr. Ferraro said the union “very much hopes that this incident reaffirms the important and strong connection between our officers and our community.”

“We also hope we can continue to work in partnership with Starbucks and the Tempe PD on positive initiatives like ‘Coffee With A Cop,’ ” he said. “While this situation may have started steeped in negativity, we remain determined to turn it into a positive moment for one and all.”

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