For the third time in less than six months, Starbucks is facing allegations of mistreating law enforcement officers.
The Seattle-based chain issued an apology this weekend after two sheriff’s deputies at a Starbucks in Riverside County, California, said they were ignored at a store and left after waiting for around five minutes, possibly more.
Sheriff Chad Bianco called attention to the episode on Friday when he tweeted from his office’s account saying, “Two of our deputies were refused service at Starbucks. The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.’’
In a video posted on Facebook, Bianco said the deputies were laughed at and “were completely ignored because they were in uniform. Quite honestly, that’s just not acceptable. It can’t be acceptable.’’
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said it was inexcusable for the deputies to receive the kind of treatment they did at the Riverside shop Thursday evening.
“We’re deeply sorry and we have reached out to the sheriff to apologize, and we’re hoping we can connect with the deputies directly and apologize as well,” Borges told USA TODAY by phone. “We’re taking full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement, on whom we depend on every single day.
“No one, whether you’re in uniform or not, should have to experience what these two deputies went through in our store, and we’ll take the steps necessary to address it.’’
Borges said the employees in question won’t be scheduled to work until an investigation is conducted.
He declined to discuss the increasing number of incidents of this nature at Starbucks outlets.
In late November, the police chief in Kiefer, Oklahoma, said in a social media post that one of his officers was given cups labeled with the word “PIG’’ instead of his name when picking up coffee for the town’s 911 dispatchers at a Starbucks.
The company apologized, dismissed the employee who wrote the message and announced plans to host a “Coffee with a Cop” event.
On July 4, a barista at a Starbucks in Tempe, Arizona, asked six police officers to move to a different spot in the store or leave after a customer complained their presence made him nervous.
The local police union expressed its concern about the incident via social media, saying in a post, “Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.’’
Starbucks also apologized in that instance, with executive VP and president of U.S. retail Rossann Williams saying in a statement about the officers: “They should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners (employees). Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.”
Contributing: Joshua Bote, USA TODAY