Tempe Officers Get Asked to Leave Starbucks


Braquel Schiermeyer, Contributor

Earlier this year an unfortunate event happened in Tempe, Arizona. On July 4th, six police officers were asked to leave a Starbucks coffee shop. The officers were in the shop before their shift began, enjoying their morning coffee, when one of the customers went up to a barista and told her that they felt unsafe in the officer’s presence. The barista informed the man that the officers went there all the time, and they hadn’t been there because they had been called, so nothing was wrong. However, the man continually asked the barista why the officers were there and informed her that they had made him uncomfortable.  The barista thought that this could have had a link to an incident that had taken place a year earlier in Philadelphia, when two young African-american entrepreneurs, were arrested in a local Starbucks. Seeing as how this man, making the complaint, was white, she didn’t fully understand the cause of his discomfort.The barista, still unclear on the reason of the man’s discomfort, went up to the officers asking if they would move away from the entrance, seeing how that was where the customers picked up their coffee, and to hopefully relieve the man of his anxiety. Disappointed in this  request, the officers left the shop.

Later that week on Saturday July 6th, 2019, a post appeared on the social media outlet, Twitter. A couple of the police officers posted the hashtag #DumpStarbucks. It went viral on Twitter, and later made it into national news.  After this appeared on the local and national news outlets, people in the community extended their support to the police officers saying that what had happened was completely disheartening. The community even took it as far as posting the #boycottstarbucks hashtag. After Starbucks’s executive vice president and president of U.S. retail, Rossann Williams, got details of what happened, she publicly apologized to the police officers in a letter dated July 7. It in part reads At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community. Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place. “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” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president of Starbucks.

The Starbucks spokesperson, Reggie Borges, says that the entire Starbucks community has deep respect for the Tempe Police officers and that they feel terrible for what happened. He said that the company got in touch with the Tempe Officers Association to better understand what happened. “Starbucks states they are aware of this incident and advised this interaction is not in line with Starbucks’ values and will continue to work in strengthening their relationship with law enforcement,” the police statement said.

Starbucks has made a significant effort to make sure that the Tempe police know that this wasn’t something that the company supports. “Starbucks released a statement calling the incident “completely unacceptable” and mentioned that it’s actually in the past partnered with the Tempe police to host the community outreach event, “Coffee with a Cop.” Now it’s sent executives to apologize face-to-face” wrote CBS NEWS.