The hashtag #DumpStarbucks was trending on Friday after a group of Arizona police officers were asked to leave a coffee shop on July 4 – reportedly because a customer complained to staff that she ‘didn’t feel safe’ with them being there.
President of the union, Rob Ferraro, believed the treatment the five cops from the Tempe Police Department at the Scottsdale Road branch on Thursday was an unfortunate sign of the times and called on the country to boycott the brand.
Many agreed, with Grammy-winning vocalist Kaya Jones tweeting under the hashtag: ‘If you feel unsafe around cops you’re a criminal.’
Another Twitter user posted: ‘Thank You Police Officers For Keeping America Safe.’
However lots of social media users pointed out that the same police department shot dead a 14-year-old boy who was running in the opposite direction of them on January 15. Antonio Arce had a BB gun on him when law enforcement killed him.
Tempe police say Officer Joseph Jaen met with Chief Slyvia Moir and she accepted his resignation in May. Police say Jaen’s resignation is separate from a criminal review and administrative review into the shooting and both still are ongoing.
Jaen was responding to a call of a suspicious car when he spotted Arce allegedly burglarizing a truck. Police say Jaen fired his weapon because he thought the teen’s gun was real and perceived a threat.
Body-worn cameras show Arce didn’t appear to turn around or point a weapon at Jaen.
The city of Tempe is just east of Phoenix where in May an officer held a family at gunpoint after their young daughter walked out of a store with a Barbie doll that hadn’t been paid for.
‘Maybe people should ask themselves why is it that American citizens are increasingly feeling uncomfortable with police presence? What are they doing? I’ve never heard of firefighters or EMTs being denied service,’ one tweeter said.
Cops kill unarmed black people and want me to #BoycottStarbucks & #DumpStarbucks for them? 😂 Me walking in past the cops to get my vente cinnamon dolce latte pic.twitter.com/S8IgmlKvFo
The cops were drinking at a branch of the coffee chain off on when they were approached by a barista and told that a customer had made a complaint about their presence.
The worker is said to have told them to either move out of the complaining customer’s line of sight or leave the premises entirely, the Tempe Officers Association claimed in a series of tweets.
‘It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you,’ Ferraro told FOX 10.
‘And again, it goes back to – we take great pride of the level of customer service we provide to citizens, and to be looked at as feeling unsafe when you have law enforcement around you is somewhat perplexing to me.’
The police union also addressed the incident in a chain of tweets on Friday, calling the treatment ‘disheartening’.
‘While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.’
me showing up to Starbucks after seeing #DumpStarbucks and getting a venti passion tea lemonade sweetened pic.twitter.com/14R2H0B50H
The union say they aren’t blaming Starbucks as a whole for the incident and said it looked forward to working with them ‘on this important dialogue’ moving forward.
However, earlier in the day the union tweeted a parody of the Starbucks logo, reading ‘Dump Starbucks’ with an cartoon of a hand pouring out the contents of a coffee cup superimposed over its iconic dual-tailed mermaid image.
‘Don’t appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on July 4,’ an accompanying message read. ‘Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect’.
Speaking to the Arizona Republic, a spokesperson for the company revealed that an investigation is being conducted into the matter and the details surrounding issue are not yet fully understood.
‘We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community,’ Reggie Borges told the newspaper.
‘We’ve reached out to the Tempe Police Department and Tempe Officers Association to better understand what happened and apologize. We want everyone in our stores to feel welcomed and the incident described is not indicative of what we want any of our customers to feel in our stores.’
The barista and the customer who allegedly made the complaint have not been named.
Starbucks also wouldn’t reveal whether the worker was disciplined in relation to the incident.
Last year, police in Philadelphia made headlines when they arrested two black men inside a Starbucks for trespassing as they waited for a work colleague to arrive.
Philadelphia’s police commissioner later issued a public apology to the men and Starbucks closed 8,000 of its stores to conduct ‘racial bias training’ for part of a business day.