First things first: There’s some context missing around the now viral #DumpStarbucks trend. But we do know for sure is the following. 6 police officers in Tempe, Arizona say that after they purchased drinks at a local Starbucks, a barista asked them to either move out of a customer’s sight or leave the establishment entirely because the customer felt “uncomfortable.” The officers left the store—then a tweet from the Tempe Officers Association about the alleged incident went viral.
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
As you can see in the image above, the #DumpStarbucks trend was born.
This happened on the Fourth of July, and more details have come out, though still not the full picture. On July 6, Sylvia Moir, the Tempe Chief of Police, tweeted the following:
From what we know, this incident is about a narrative about police and subsequent action by an individual – while cops were working a holiday to keep the community safe to celebrate. We WILL be having conversations with the local Starbucks. @ToaAz https://t.co/EFsObjDK2Z
— Sylvia Moir (@ChiefMoir) July 6, 2019
What “narrative about police”? It’s unclear. But what is clear is police violence and brutality make many communities (and even individuals outside of those highly impacted communities) wary of the police. Along with physical violence, racial profiling and police brutality have documented impacts on the mental health of communities that face exceptionally high rates. Trauma is real.
Of course, it’s also possible that this situation centered on specifics with the customer in question and law enforcement. Or even that the tension stemmed from an entirely personal conflict, and being on the job was merely a coincidence. It’s all still very unclear.
Starbucks has responded in a few different ways on various platforms. For example, the Starbucks executive vice president and president of U.S. Retail, Rossann Williams, made a statement on the Starbucks website, apologizing to the officers.
“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,” the statement reads. She noted that she “will be in Tempe this evening and welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you in person to address concerns or questions.”
As reported by CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO, Starbucks issued a statement saying, in part, that they are attempting to, “better understand what took place and apologize for any misunderstandings or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place.”
And how has the general public reacted? Well, let’s check out some gems from the #DumpStarbucks Twitter trend…
Many people are arguing that boycotting Starbucks is just another way of avoiding what might be the underlying issue in the situation…
Maybe people should ask themselves why is it that American citizens are increasingly feeling uncomfortable with police presence? What are they doing?
I've never heard of firefighters or EMTs being denied service.
'Fuck the Mailman' isnt a song. #DumpStarbucks
— Deon (@imnottayediggs) July 6, 2019
Those of y’all who want to #DumpStarbucks because some police officers were asked to leave are the same people who were real quiet when two black men were arrested for waiting at a Starbucks. But I digress.
— keels (@keeleeloo) July 6, 2019
— Medium Sized County Pizza Litigator (@17ShortFuse) July 6, 2019
— Erin Sherrer (@Sherrer25) July 6, 2019
People are mad because a customer felt uncomfortable with officers being present and instead of asking “why might someone fear law enforcement” they go after the coffee shop they sat in…
Enough with this fake outrage crap. That won’t solve the underlying issue
— Puppy & Pinot (@puppy_and_pinot) July 6, 2019
Starbucks asks police officers to leave after customers felt uncomfortable.
Conservatives: This is an atrocity! #DumpStarbucks !!!
Starbucks has two black men arrested for no reason.
They don’t even try to hide their bias.
— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) July 6, 2019
Me on my way for a Grande Frappuccino after bring told to #DumpStarbucks
— insecure Al (@insecure_al) July 6, 2019
Me showing up to my usual Starbucks this morning to order a venti iced caramel coffee and banana nut bread even after seeing the blue lives stans meltdown in the #DumpStarbucks trend. Mmm tasty! pic.twitter.com/JuXS96MG6h
— ♔ (@gocalldapolice) July 6, 2019
But plenty of people seem into the Starbucks boycott. Here are some of their rationales…
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) July 6, 2019
— Kaya Jones (@KayaJones) July 6, 2019
Man, I wanted a coffee this morning, but I'm not supporting a company that doesn't support the people who sacrifice their safety for ours. #DumpStarbucks
— Jessica Fletcher (@heckyessica) July 6, 2019
Surprising no one, Tomi Lahren weighed in pretty early:
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
Phew. What do you think?