A report emerged on Friday alleging that a group of police officers in Tempe, Arizona had been asked to leave a Starbucks coffee shop on Independence Day simply because their mere presence in the store made another customer feel unsafe.
That allegation of blatant disrespect for the officers prompted an angry thread of tweets from the local police union and enraged outcries from those who strongly support law enforcement, including Fox News contributor and Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren.
Cops and coffee
The Tempe Officers Association (TOA) first brought attention to the incident in a tweet on Friday.
Don’t appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect pic.twitter.com/oGaDKhlYX3
— Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 5, 2019
The thread went on to explain that the officers were enjoying a cup of coffee prior to starting their shift on Independence Day when a barista — who knows one of the officers as a regular customer — asked the group to hide themselves or leave because another customer reportedly “did not feel safe” while the officers remained in sight.
Though disappointed by what had happened, the officers did, in fact, go ahead and exit the store.
Lahren asks the key questions
In a phone interview with Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV, TOA President Rob Ferraro lamented the “new reality” police officers across the nation face these days.
“It’s become accepted to not trust or to see police and think that we’re not here to serve you,” Ferraro said. “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.”
That appeared to be the sentiment shared by Lahren, a big supporter of law enforcement, who wondered in a tweet on Saturday just who Starbucks — or the offended customer — would call in the event of an emergency, if not the exact same law enforcement officers who purportedly made them feel unsafe.
If you “don’t feel safe” around police, wait till you don’t have them to rely on. The disrespect for law enforcement in this country is disgusting. #thinblueline
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) July 6, 2019
Starbucks responds – but is it enough?
For what it’s worth, a spokesman for Starbucks offered up an apology for what happened and revealed that the corporation was looking into the incident, though he declined to provide any specifics on what, if any, sort of potential disciplinary actions may be pursued.
In a statement provided to the Arizona Republic, Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said: “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.”
Whether that apology is accepted by staunch law enforcement supporters like Tomi Lahren and others remains to be seen.
One thing that is perfectly clear, however, is that there is indeed a “new reality” that police officers across the nation must face on a daily basis — the fact that a portion of the ideological left has labeled them as the enemy.