Most of us are clued into the story already. And a lot of us are outraged. But after this whole thing is said and done, we have to ask…  what’s our course of action? 
 
The other day, a group of officers in Tempe, Arizona were asked to leave a Starbucks because of a complaint from a customer inside the coffee shop. According to a Facebook post, six officers were enjoying their drink inside the business when a barista approached them.
 
The barista made the officers aware that their presence had made another patron feel “unsafe” and asked the officers to move to another area or leave. 
 

Six officers were asked to leave a Starbucks because their presence was offensive to a customer. (PxHere)

 

And so they did. 

 
Police officers and supporters of the blue became outraged over the treatment of the officers (some of whom were veterans), especially on the 4th of July… as they worked… to keep others safe. 
 
Starbucks came out and apologized today. While the apology felt authentic, there’s always the question of backlash and hindsight. Would they bother apologizing if it hadn’t made national news? Would they have made an effort to publicly condemn the way the situation unfolded if they didn’t think it would mean less money coming into their corporation?
 
“We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community,” Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said. “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.”
 
Cops: We were kicked out of Starbucks because a customer “didn’t feel safe” around us

(Facebook)

 

Remember what happened in a Starbucks in 2018? Let’s backtrack. 

Two black men were arrested for trespassing after they refused to leave a Starbucks.  They weren’t paying customers.  As a result, the Philadelphia police commissioner issued an apology to the men.  Then Starbucks closed some 8,000 locations for a business day to conduct “racial bias training,” which was apparently focused more on police brutality than the actual scenario that went down.

“The training materials focused a lot on police brutality, which had nothing to do with the incident that happened. ‘What does watching videos about police brutality have to do with the situation that happened,’ Tina said she kept asking herself. “They went too deep into it and missed the point all at the same time.”

Perhaps Starbucks can help us understand the hypocrisy.  One of their employees called the police because people who weren’t paying customers were taking up space and refused to leave private property.  Police responded and did what was asked of them – and what they were legally justified in doing.

Cops: We were kicked out of Starbucks because a customer “didn’t feel safe” around us

Cops: We were kicked out of Starbucks because a customer “didn’t feel safe” around us. (Adobe Stock/Wikipedia)

 

In response, we see an entire company shut down to train employees in how police are bad, everyone is racist and we need to make sure everyone feels good.

On the flip side, we see spreading incidents across the country where police officers are being kicked out of the shops that are in the very communities these cops serve and protect.  

But here’s the question. What’s next? Do we move on? Or do we act like those citizens we love to call out that continue to condemn major groups over the actions of just a few?

This is difficult. It makes us angry. It makes us disappointed. It makes us sad. It’s hard knowing that you lay your life on the line day after day to keep others safe, yet now citizens feel “unsafe” in our presence. 

“It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you, 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 Arizona Police Union tweeted the following image following the incident.
 
But let’s take a moment to look at this from the other side of the coin.

 

How do we feel when people make blanket statements about police? How do we feel when we are judged by the actions of one or two officers? Do we want a cop who acted on a poor choice to be the poster child for every single member of law enforcement in America?
 
We don’t.
So we need to ask ourselves…. do we move on? Or do we find a new place to get our caffeine fix?
 
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