In May 2018, two black men inside a Philadelphia Starbucks were arrested while waiting for a friend. The incident, which was caught on cellphone recording sparked a national debate about racial bias in the country. The result was 8,000 of the franchises stores to be shut down for diversity and sensitivity training.
Now it seems as if the tables have turned and members of law enforcement at an Arizona Starbucks were asked to leave Saturday (July 7) when a customer told a barista their presence made them feel “unsafe.”
According to NBC News, the employee knew one of the officers by name because he’s a regular in the Tempe Starbucks location, and politely asked them to leave.
“While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019,” a statement from the Tempe Officers Association.
“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),” Executive Vice president Rossann Williams said. “Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.”
As of Sunday (July 7) Williams reportedly was en route to the Tempe Police Station to hopefully patch up the matter.
“At Starbucks, we have a deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community,” Williams said in a statement. “Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.”
The incident sparked a debate on social media with some tweeting their disappointment in the coffee chain, and others noting if customers don’t feel safe when in the proximity of law enforcement, maybe the issue is bigger than what’s on the surface.
What say you? Should police officers have been asked to leave a Starbucks in Arizona or should the customer who felt unsafe have left? Sound off in the comments.