This story makes my head explode.

Through a series of tweets (below), the Tempe Officers Association (TOA) told a very disturbing story.

Six police officers stopped at a Tempe, AZ Starbucks shop before their shift began on the Fourth of July. A barista, who addressed one of the officers by name because he was a regular at this location, approached to tell them a customer had complained they “did not feel safe” because of the “police presence.”  The barista asked them to either leave the shop or else to move out of the complaining customer’s line of sight. The officers left.

The tweet said, “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.”

The TOA ended with the following tweet:

The president of the police union, Rob Ferraro, told FOX 10 of Phoenix that “such treatment of police officers seems to be happening more often these days…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.”

Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges spoke to The Arizona Republic.

We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community. 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.

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.

Neither the barista or the customer were identified.

What would cause an individual (and I’m picturing a female millennial although I have no way of knowing), to feel unsafe in the presence of police officers? Unless one was carrying drugs or had something to hide, why would anyone feel unsafe around a police officer? And worse, how could a person feel they were entitled to ask fellow customers in a public location to leave? I am stunned by the sheer hubris and rudeness of it.

More appalling still was the poor judgement of the barista. He or she had a choice to make in that situation. He should have politely declined the customer’s request.

Why has it become increasingly okay to insult police officers, those who risk their lives to protect us?

I scanned through some of the replies to the TOA tweets and found the following one.

I think it’s stupid to ask the police to leave because the customer felt uncomfortable. I’ve been to that location twice and I was asked to leave because I had on a work uniform and I was the only black customer in the store and everybody looked at me and I was asked to leave.

Does Starbucks now ban  everyone dressed in a uniform from entering their shop? Does one need to dress a certain way to grab a cup of coffee at a Starbucks?

You may recall this Starbucks story from last year. “Two black men who were waiting for a business colleague inside the shop were arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks shop.  The city’s police commissioner later apologized to the men and Starbucks closed some 8,000 locations for part of a business day to conduct “racial bias training.”

It may be time for Starbucks to conduct another round of training, this time on the subject of manners and common sense.