RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Controversy was brewing Friday at a Riverside Starbucks where witnesses said two deputies were ignored by employees at the store, but was it because of the badge they wore?
Two uniformed deputies said four employees at the Iowa and University avenues refused to serve them Thursday.
“Why would they deny cops? They help the city,” Daniel Hernandez, a customer, said. “They help us out.”
“That doesn’t seem like it would really happen,” Chris Rubio, another customer, said.
But Starbucks admitted that the deputies were ignored for nearly five minutes. The company said there was no excuse for any customer, in or out of uniform, to experience that and apologized for any “intentional or unintentional disrespect.”
“I don’t know,” Hernandez said. “It might be something personal, might not be.”
But Riverside County Sheriff tweeted Friday night in support of his officers and said the “anti-police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.”
Two of our deputies were refused service at Starbucks. The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end. https://t.co/XXgjtJ9GcH
— Chad Bianco (@SheriffBianco) December 14, 2019
The Thursday incident was not the first time the company has been accused of discriminating against law enforcement officers.
A couple of weeks ago, a Starbucks employee in Oklahoma was fired after giving an officer a cup with the word “pig” printed on the label. And, back in July, six officers in Arizona said they were asked to leave a Starbucks because they were making a customer nervous.
A law enforcement source said that in this case the deputies were professional and polite, and that when they asked to be served they were disrespected and ignored while other customers inside were able to place their orders.
Starbucks said the employees involved in this incident will not be scheduled to work until an internal investigation has been completed.