TEMPE, Ariz. (AP/CBS Newspath) – Starbucks is apologizing after an employee reportedly asked six police officers to leave or change their location in one of the company’s shops in a Phoenix suburb because another customer reported feeling unsafe.
Starbucks said it has “deep respect for the Tempe Police Department” and was apologizing “for any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place” during the July 4 encounter.
The Tempe Officers Association said the officers had just bought their drinks and were standing together before their shift started when a barista made the request for a customer.
The association called the request offensive and disheartening.
Association President Rob Ferraro called it perplexing that someone would feel unsafe when officers are around.
“Two of them are veterans, one having served over 20 years in the military, and especially on July 4th it was pretty upsetting to have that request made,” Ferraro told KSAZ.
The Police Department said it hoped the incident was an isolated incident.
The incident has sparked heated debate on social media. Supporters of the police have launched a #boycottstarbucks campaign on Twitter.
“Unfortunately, this appears to be the new reality for law enforcement these days,” Ferraro told the TV station.
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