By Anders Hagstrom
A California coffee shop doubled down on its refusal to serve police officers, claiming cops threaten their “physical and emotional safety.”
Hasta Muerte Coffee owners refused service to a Latino police sergeant March 8 and are now defending that decision despite growing outrage, KTVU reported. The shop is a worker-owned collective with a mural criticizing police shootings and the militarization of law enforcement. Oakland’s police union wrote a letter to the owners, complaining about the measure. A local city councilman said while he disagrees with the policy, there aren’t any plans to stop it.
“We know in our experience working on campaigns against police brutality that we are not alone saying that police presence compromises our feelings of physical & emotional safety,” Hasta Muerte Coffee posted on its Instagram page. “The facts are that poc [people of color], women and queer police are complicit in upholding the same law and order that routinely criminalizes and terrorizes black and brown and poor folks, especially youth, trans and houseless folks. For these reasons and so many more, we need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police.”
Officers were disappointed but would respect their policy, Oakland Police Department replied, according to the New York Daily News. Some Oakland residents were less forgiving.
“I don’t think it’s fair — they should [serve cops],” Oakland resident Mildred Jelks told KTVU. “They’re protecting them. If somebody breaks in there, who are they gonna call? The police.”
The case is similar to a Seattle-based gay coffee shop owner who kicked out a group of Christians from his shop in October 2016, after declaring he would “f*ck Christ in the ass.”
The owner heatedly told the Christians to leave his shop immediately in a video Abolish Human Abortion, Christian group seeking to end the practice of abortion, posted to Facebook.
“I’m gay; you have to leave,” the owner said in a video of the incident. “This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have the right to be offended.”
Another coffee shop kicked out five Republican men in December 2017 because they wore “MAGA” hats.
The unnamed owner of Rodrigue’s Coffee at Fordham University in New York kicked the college Republicans out because the MAGA hats allegedly violated the shop’s “safe space policy.”
“I am protecting my customers,” the owner said.
“We are your customers,” a college Republicans member responded. “We bought something.”
“I don’t want people like you supporting this club. No one here wants people like you supporting our club,” the owner told the group. “I am giving you five minutes.”