July 7, 2019
Starbucks Apologizes After Tempe Police Officers Were Asked To Leave Because A Customer Didn't Feel Safe

Starbucks apologized on Sunday for a July 4 incident in which six Tempe, Arizona police officers were asked to leave one of its locations because a customer didn't "feel safe" around them, Reuters reports. The apology comes after the company had had a few days to investigate the incident.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the incident happened on Thursday, the 4th of July, and started getting noticed by the national media on Friday and Saturday. At the time of the incident, six Tempe police officers, who hadn't yet started their shifts, went to an undisclosed Starbucks location and ordered drinks. While they were waiting for their drinks, they all stood near the front of the building. However, a barista told them that one of the customers didn't "feel safe" around the cops, and the barista asked the officers to either move out of the customer's line of sight or leave the building. They left the building.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Tempe police officers' union, Rob Ferraro, said that the barista's actions that day are indicative of a larger problem of police officers not being treated respectfully, even by some businesses. He didn't specifically call for a boycott, although he did say that he doesn't understand why anyone would feel unsafe around his colleagues.

"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," he said.

Initially, Starbucks' management was reluctant to speak about the issue until all of the facts had been gathered. Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told the Arizona Republic that the company was looking into the matter to try to gather more information about what happened. He did say, however, that the incident was not in keeping with the company's values of wanting everyone to feel welcome in their stores.

Now, however, the company has apologized. In a statement, Rossann Williams, the company's executive vice president, expressed her regrets for what happened in Tempe. "On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4," she said. Further, she noted that what happened in Tempe last week is "never the experience" any Starbucks customer should have, and that the company was taking undisclosed steps to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again.