Police officers say they were asked to leave Tempe Starbucks because customer felt unsafe

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)— A group of police officers were asked to leave a Starbucks shop by a barista because another customer “did not feel safe,” according to the Tempe Officers Association.

Much to their dismay, the Tempe Officers Association tweeted about the Independence Day experience.

Friday afternoon, TOA gave a full breakdown of what six officers said happened at the Starbucks near Scottsdale and McKellips roads. You can read about it here:

Yesterday, on Independence Day, six Tempe police officers stopped by the Starbucks at Scottsdale Road and McKellips for coffee. The officers paid for their drinks and stood together having a cup of coffee before their long Fourth of July shift. They were approached by a barista, who knew one of the officers by name, because he is a regular at that location. The barista said that a customer “did not feel safe” because of the police presence. The barista asked the officers to move out of the customer’s line of sight or to leave. Disappointed, the officers did in fact leave. This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019. We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue.

A spokesman with Starbucks, Reggie Borges, gave the following statement about the incident over the phone:

We have reached out to the Tempe police department to try to better understand what took place and apologize for any misunderstandings or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place.

We work with them a lot on events, like Coffee with a Cop, in our stores and we have a great relationship with them, so we are surprised that something like this may have taken place.

I just want them to understand how much we value them and what they bring to the community.

It is too early to say what type of ramifications employees will face, if any. But we want it to be known that everyone who walks into our store should feel welcomed and embraced and to have the best Starbucks experience-- and when that doesn’t happen, that is not indicative of the kind of welcoming environment that we want to provide.


The Tempe Police Department released its own statement on Friday evening, saying it reached out to Starbucks' corporate office that told the department the incident was "not in line with Starbucks values and will continue to work in strengthening their relationship with law enforcement.

The full statement can be read below.

The Tempe Police Department values relationships with our community and will always attempt to positively engage with our residents, businesses, and visitors who come to Tempe.

It is our hope that the incident which occurred at Starbucks was an isolated incident between one community member and a single employee rather than an entire organization.

Since this incident came to light, the Tempe Police Department has reached out to the Starbucks Corporate Office. Starbucks stated 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.

Police officers make great sacrifices to keep their communities safe during holidays such as the Fourth of July, so others can enjoy the day with their family and friends. The Tempe Police Department will continue at all times to reduce harm within our community.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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