An Arizona Starbucks employee kicked out Tempe police officers on July Fourth after a customer complained they "did not feel safe" in the presence of law enforcement officers.
Six Tempe officers were waiting for their coffee at the front of the restaurant before starting their holiday shift when a barista approached them, KSAV-TV reported.
The barista requested the officers move out of the complaining customer's line-of-sight or leave the coffee house altogether. The officers then left as requested, the Tempe Officers Association explained on Twitter.
Two of the officers were also military veterans.
In a statement, TOA president Rob Ferraro denounced the hostile reaction police officers increasingly face in public.
"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," he told KSAV.
While the TOA did not necessarily advocate for a Starbucks boycott, the organization posted a picture on social media Friday that said "Dump Starbucks"
Don't appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of th… https://t.co/kPeouXXXJ8— Tempe Officers Association (@Tempe Officers Association)1562358638.0
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges expressed remorse over the incident.
"We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community," he told The Arizona Republic. "We've reached out to the Tempe Police Department and Tempe Officers Association to better understand what happened and apologize. We want everyone in our stores to feel welcomed and the incident described is not indicative of what we want any of our customers to feel in our stores."
However, Borges declined to comment on possible disciplinary action against the employee who requested the officers leave.