California coffee shop refuses to serve police officers

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OAKLAND (KRON) – A controversial business decision to refuse service to police officers in Oakland has got people talking, and they have a lot say.

The coffee shop is relatively new to that part of town. Longtime residents and merchants there have mixed reactions to the business turning police officers away.

This is what an Oakland police officer was told back in February after entering Hasta Muerte Coffee Shop at Fruitvale and East 27th Street: “We have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves.”

The coffee shop wrote about the incident on their Instagram account. Word has got out to the community. Some people support Hasta Muerte’s decision.

Others do not.

“I don’t know if I support it or don’t support it,” San Jose resident Carl Soltero said. “I just find it very curious.”

Others have a different opinion.

“They have their right to refuse service or serve anybody in the community,” Oakland life coach Michael Muscandine said.

One Oakland resident, who asked not to reveal her identity, says the coffee shop is trying to protect some customers who may have had negative interactions with Oakland police.

“When you bring armed and uniformed police officers into the community’s safe places, just where we live, without taking that history into account, you’re not taking into account PTSD,” she said. “You’re not taking into account that, that triggers people.”

The owner of La Perla Puerto Rican Cusine says he knows the Latino officer who the coffee shop refused to serve, and he is not feeling too good about it.

“Why? Why you do that?” Gabriel Ortiz said. “I mean for me personally, there is no place for any merchant to have that mentality in my city, and my city is the City of Oakland, and I represent it well.”

Right or wrong, it appears to be legal, says Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo.

“They are within their legal rights to do that,” Gallo said. “The legal folks have expressed that to me.”

Hasta Muerte management declined to be interviewed for this story.

Moving forward, Gallo says he will work on trying to bridge the gap between the coffee shop and the police department.