Starbucks Corp. has issued an apology to police officers after an employee at one of its stores in Tempe, Ariz., asked six officers to leave or move out of a customer’s line of sight, Reuters reports.
“The officers had visited the store on July 4 and had paid for the drinks, before one company employee approached them about a customer not feeling safe because of the police presence, the Tempe Officers Association said on Twitter,” Reuters reports.
In its account of the incident the Officers Association wrote: “This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive.”
The incident triggered a backlash on social media, with Twitter users expressing support for the officers and launching the #boycottstarbucks hashtag.
Starbucks posted an apology to the Tempe Police Department, which you can read in full by clicking here. In the apology, attributed to Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president of U.S. Retail for Starbucks, the company said the treatment of the officers was “completely unacceptable.”
“On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4,” Williams wrote.
Reuters adds: “Last year, the company was mired in a racial profiling incident that involved the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store. Starbucks later settled with the men privately, and temporarily closed 8,000 U.S. stores for anti-bias training.”
Click here to read the full apology from Starbucks.