Everyone acting exceedingly polite in this Starbucks-cops kerfuffle

Photo: bensib (iStock)

The crux of recent tension between Starbucks and Arizona’s Tempe Police Department occurred on July 4, but the aftermath is ongoing—and, shocking for 2019—incredibly civil. For those who missed the initial news, here is the CliffsNotes version: A group of six Tempe cops visited a Starbucks, and after receiving their orders, were asked by a barista to move or leave the store because they were making a customer uncomfortable. The officers chose to leave, but the Tempe Officers Association followed up with a statement that brought the encounter to national headlines.

The tone of that initial statement was, overall, pretty friendly, even if it called the barista’s request that the officers leave “offensive”: “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.” Subsequently, a Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams apologized on behalf of the company, calling the treatment of the officers “completely unacceptable.”

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The police got their sit-down with Starbucks yesterday, as the six officers met with Starbucks management and police Chief Sylvia Moir, per ABC 15. Apparently, it was all friendly and polite and reasonable: The Tempe Officers Association president said the police “came away from the meeting feeling heard and respected.” But for good measure, Starbucks apologized further, issuing a statement on its website saying in part: “At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community.” The apology might sound familiar to those who remember the May 2018 firestorm over two black men who were asked to leave a Philadelphia Starbucks.

But in summation, to catch us up on this month’s someone-asked-to-leave-a-Starbucks headlines, all parties involved are calmly discussing an incident in which no one was slapped, spit on, or injured. Feelings have been heard. Olive branches have been offered. It’s unclear whether there was a group hug.

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Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.