There must be something spectacularly strange about the air in Oakland. Not only does the mayor there warn criminals that federal immigration officers are on the hunt for them, but one coffee shop has taken a stance to not serve police officers…and then management got its panties in a wad when one Latino officer dared to tell the world about it, prompting bad reviews and falling business from the community.
They posted a warning as part of a statement on Instagram:
“We want to put this out to our communities now, in case we end up facing backlash because as we know OPD, unlike the community, has tons of resources, many of which are poured into maintaining smooth public relations to uphold power,” the post states. “It will be no surprise if some of those resources are steered toward discrediting us for not inviting them in as part of the community.”
Oakland’s police are taking all of this better than the community is, as there have been actions, peaceful so far, in the form of bad reviews online, and people publicly objecting that the barista, Hasta Muerte Coffee (the Spanish translated to “until death”), claims the workers do not feel safe with police around.
“I think their position is very clear that they don’t want the police in there, and I can respect that,” Sgt. Bryan Hubbard, vice president of the Police Officers’ Association, told SFGate.
“If they do call the police for any need, we’re going to respond professionally and give them the same level of service as anyone else regardless of their position.”
But other area businesses aren’t taking it so lightly, according to KGO, the ABC station in the Bay Area.
“For them, to refuse service to a police officer from our community is totally outrageous,” Jose “Cheo” Ortiz, owner of nearby La Perla restaurant, told the station.
“He’s a great officer, a great man and he’s all about community. For him to come and introduce himself to a new business and receive that treatment is not acceptable.”
If nothing else, the Oakland case is putting a spotlight back on the police as a group targeted for discrimination.
Last Friday February 16th a police (OPD) entered our shop and was told by one of our worker-owners that “we have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves.” Since then, cop supporters are trying to publicly shame us online with low reviews because this particular police visitor was Latino. He broadcasted to his network that he was “refused service” at a local business and now the rumblings are spreading. We know in our experience working on campaigns against police brutality that we are not alone saying that police presence compromises our feeling of physical & emotional safety. There are those that do not share that sentiment – be it because they have a friend or relative who is a police, because they are white or have adopted the privileges whiteness affords, because they are home- or business- owning, or whatever the particular case may be. If they want to make claims about police being part of the community, or claims that race trumps the badge & gun when it comes to police, they must accept that the burden of proof for such a claim is on them. OPDs recent attempts to enlist officers of color and its short term touting of fewer officer involved shootings does not reverse or mend its history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal, nor a legacy of blatant repression. The facts are that poc, 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. Especially in an area faced by drug sales and abuse, homelessness, and toxic masculinity as we see here on this block. We want to put this out to our communities now, in case we end up facing backlash because as we know OPD, unlike the community, has tons of resources, many of which are poured into maintaining smooth public relations to uphold power. It will be no surprise if some of those resources are steered toward discrediting us for not inviting them in as part of the community.