Starbucks was forced to apologize on its website after an incident in a Tempe, Arizona, where a barista asked six police officers to leave the location, went viral. Additionally, the company has deployed its EVP/President of U.S. Retail to Tempe Sunday night after speaking to the city’s police chief.
In a statement addressed to “Chief Moir and the entire Tempe Police Department,” Starbucks apologizes for the July 4th incident, calling it “completely unacceptable”:
Thank you, Chief Moir, for the conversation today. 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.
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). Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.
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.
The apology continues, with Starbucks EVP Rossann William stating:
Our strong relationship with the Tempe Police Department has provided us the opportunity to host several “Coffee with a Cop” events in area stores, which bring residents and police together to discuss relevant issues and find common ground. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with you, and we agree that the experience of your officers requires an important dialogue – one that we are committed to being part of.
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.
I will be in Tempe this evening and welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you in person to address concerns or questions.
As we reported yesterday, a barista asked six police officers to leave the store – or move out of a customer’s line of sight – because they were making a customer feel “unsafe”, according to Business Insider which first reported the snafu.
As a result, the hashtag #DumpStarbucks started trending on Twitter after the Tempe Officers Association tweeted out a “Dump Starbucks” logo that was first used in 2012 to protest the company’s support of same sex marriage.
Don't appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect pic.twitter.com/oGaDKhlYX3
— Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 5, 2019
Six officers, including military veterans, were in the Starbucks – on the 4th of July of all days– to get drinks. A barista then asked them to leave because a customer “did not feel safe” with them present. The officers reportedly left without any confrontations, but the Tempe Officer’s Association said at the time that “such treatment has become all too common in 2019” and said it will “look forward to working collaboratively” with Starbucks to address the incident.
The issue was a topic of discussion on Fox News Sunday, where the President of the Tempe Officers Association said he hopes the issue “encourages a national dialogue”.
— Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 7, 2019