close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Starbucks apologizes to police after six officers were asked to leave Arizona store

The Starbucks logo is pictured outside a branch of the coffee shop chain. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Arizona Jul 07, 2019, 09.01 PM (IST)

Starbucks Corp on Sunday apologized after an employee at one of its stores in Tempe, Arizona asked six police officers to leave or move out of a customer's line of sight, triggering social media backlash.

The officers had visited the store on July 4 and had paid for the drinks, before one company employee approached them about a customer not feeling safe because of the police presence, the Tempe Officers Association said on Twitter.

"This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive," the association added.

Following the incident, users took to Twitter to support the police, tweeting comments along with the #boycottstarbucks hashtag.

"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," Rossann Williams, the coffee chain's executive vice president, wrote.

"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."

Last year, the company was mired in a racial profiling incident that involved the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store. Starbucks later settled with the men privately, and temporarily closed 8,000 U.S. stores for anti-bias training.

Story highlights

The officers had visited the store on July 4 and had paid for the drinks, before one company employee approached them about a customer not feeling safe because of the police presence, the Tempe Officers Association said on Twitter.