Economy & Business

Starbucks Apologizes after Police Deputies Denied Service in California Store

A Starbucks sign on one of the company stores in Los Angeles, Calif., October 19, 2018 (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Starbucks has apologized for an incident at one of its California locations in which two police officers were allegedly refused service following allegations that the coffee chain maintained an “anti-police” culture.

The two Riverside County sheriff’s deputies allegedly waited an unreasonable amount of time to be served and were “laughed at” by employees before leaving and going elsewhere for coffee, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

“They tried to get served, they asked if anyone was going to help them, they were laughed at, they were completely ignored — obviously ignored to where other patrons knew they were being ignored,” Bianco said in a Facebook video.

“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored for nearly 5 minutes at our store on Thursday evening,” Starbucks said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them. We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe.”

“No customer, in or out of uniform, should ever have that experience at a Starbucks,” the coffee franchise added.

The sheriff expressed skepticism about the sincerity of the company’s apology, saying Starbucks is “doing corporate damage control” and “want to downplay what happened.”

The incident is not the first time Starbucks has come under fire for an apparent anti-police attitude among its employees. Last month, a Starbucks server in Glenpool, Oklahoma wrote “PIG” on an officer’s cup, an incident the company called “absolutely unacceptable.” The employee was fired.

In another incident over the summer, employees at a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona asked a group of police officers to leave because another customer said they “did not feel safe” near them.

“The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end,” Bianco added on Twitter.

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