Starbucks Apologizes After Incident in Which Police Officers Were Refused Service
Starbucks has officially apologized for the third “anti-police” incident at its stores in six months after two uniformed California deputies were laughed at and refused service on the evening of Thursday, December 12.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department made the issue public on Twitter. “We are aware of the ‘cop with no coffee’ incident that occurred in Riverside on 12/12/19, involving our @RSO deputies. We are in communication w/@Starbucks Corporate addressing the issue of deputies being denied service.”
Sheriff Chad Bianco revealed in a Facebook video that the deputies were laughed at and “completely ignored, [to the point where] other patrons knew they were being ignored.” He also retweeted the Riverside Police Department’s statement and added, “The anti-police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.”
According to KABC, Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges confirmed that the law enforcement officers were ignored for nearly five minutes and apologized for their mistreatment. “There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored,” he said. “We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them.”
In a statement to NBC News, the coffee giant also took full responsibility for any “intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe.” They added, “No customer, in or out of uniform, should ever have that experience at a Starbucks. The partners (employees) who worked that evening will not be scheduled to work while we investigate and take the appropriate steps.”
The news comes after other recent police-related incidents. Earlier this months, Starbucks fired a barista who printed the word “Pig” across the labels of drinks ordered by Oklahoma police officers working on Thanksgiving.
The coffee chain apologized in a statement, confirming that the employee in question was terminated for “unacceptable” behavior and expressing remorse to the Kiefer Police Department for the incident. “This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
Days later, Starbucks and the Kiefer Police Department issued a joint statement outlining a new initiative to strengthen the relationship between local police officers and members of the Oklahoma community.
WATCH: Starbucks to Temporarily Close All U.S. Stores for Racial-Bias Training Following Arrest Incident
“In the coming days, Starbucks will be meeting with the Kiefer Police Department to begin discussing ways to work together, including a jointly hosted Coffee with a Cop event at Starbucks where local law enforcement can meet with baristas and members of the community to discuss the critical role dispatchers and police officers play in keeping our communities safe,” the statement reads. “Together with law enforcement agencies, Starbucks will jointly look for educational opportunities for our partners across the United States to promote better understanding and respect.”
Starbucks also apologized back in July after a barista at a location in Tempe, Arizona asked multiple officers to move from their spot or leave after an anxious customer complained that their presence made him nervous. The officers elected to leave, and the local police union then wrote a statement of concern in response: “Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”
Executive VP and President of U.S. Retail Rossann Williams issued an official apology to the Arizona police force: “They should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners. Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.”