On July 4th, several officers from the Tempe Police Department were about to enjoy their coffee when a barista asked them to leave the establishment. The officers were at the East Valley city Starbucks when the employee approached them.
According to the President of the Tempe Officers Association, the employee had been approached by a customer who claimed that they felt unsafe because of the number of officers present in the store.
TOA officials stated that the five officers had purchased their drinks and chose to stand near the front of the store. The barista approached them and made the request on behalf of the customer. The officers then left.
Two of the officers were offended and frustrated by the incident. In response to the incident, TOA posted a “Dump Starbucks” picture on social media.
Rob Ferraro, President of TOA, spoke to Fox10 on phone: "It's become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we're not here to serve you, and again, it goes back to -- 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."
Starbucks officials issued a statement in response to the incident:
"We have deep respect for the Tempe Police Department and its service to our community. We have reached out to understand better what may have happened in our store, and to apologize for any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place."
TOA President Rob Ferraro also issued a statement:
"We would like to thank the public for the overwhelming support shown to our officers in the aftermath of this unfortunate incident. We are encouraged that Starbucks has reached out to our organization and to the Tempe Police Department to apologize and to further express their support of law enforcement. We hope that out of this unfortunate incident there comes a welcome dialogue, one that more closely unites the men and women on the front lines of police work with the communities we serve and protect."