An Oakland coffee shop — Hasta Muerte — made headlines last week over its controversial policy of not serving police officers to protect the "physical and emotional safety” of its customers.
Now, the Oakland police department is using the incident as a lesson for new department recruits.
First, what happened?
Oakland police Sgt. Robert Trevino walked into the latin coffee shop last month to order a cup of joe when he learned the shop, which opened just several months back, doesn’t serve police officers.
After word spread about the shop’s policy, Hasta Muerte responded on Instagram with a long post explaining why it doesn’t serve police officers and why they believe police officers are a danger to society’s vulnerable.
In that post, the coffee shop also posted a picture of a police badge with an “x” through it. A caption told followers to “talk to your neighbors, not with the police” in Spanish.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Trevino wasn’t at the coffee shop just to buy a warm cup of coffee. Instead, because the business was new and he holds the position of district sergeant, Trevino traveled to the shop to begin building a relationship with the shop’s owners and staff.
Sgt. Bryan Hubbard told the Chronicle: "Knowing [Trevino] personally, he highly values community policing and he’s known as going out and building relationships with merchants."
Indeed, City Councilman Noel Gallo, a longtime friend of Trevino’s, said the sergeant loves community policing, which means building trust and rapport in the communities he manages.
Now, what’s the lesson?
Hubbard, who runs OPD’s training departments, told the Chronicle he plans to use the incident as a “teaching moment” for new recruits.
He said he will use the incident to teach recruits that "it doesn’t matter how people feel about the police, you have to treat everyone equally." He will also use the incident to drive home the importance of building relationships and trust in the communities that officers patrol.