The Jury Talks Back

3/12/2018

Teaching Opportunity: Coffee Shop Refuses To Serve Police Officers For The Physical And Emotional Safety of Employees And Customers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:42 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last month, a recently opened coffee shop founded by three Latinos in Oakland refused to serve a uniformed police officer who had gone in to introduce himself and have a cup of coffee. He was told that Hasta Muerte does not serve police officers. Sgt. Robert Trevino, who works in the predominantly Latino neighborhood where the coffee shop is located, is also the chapter president of the county’s national Latino Peace Officers Association. Sgt. Bryan Hubbard, vice president of the Police Officers’ Association and who runs the department’s training academies, described Sgt. Trevino as an officer who puts a high priority on community policing and forming relationships with local merchants. Consistent with Sgt. Hubbard’s description, Sgt. Trevino said he would like to meet with Hasta Muerte employees and try to “build a better relationship”. However, it quickly became clear that they were not interested. This in spite of the coffee shop’s Kickstarter campaign claim of “opening a warm + inviting familia style coffe shop”.

Here is a statement released by Hasta Muerte after the incident – a statement accompanied by an exhortation to talk with your neighbors, not the police and a crossed-out police badge next to it:

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.

Last week, Oakland police officials said incident will be used as an opportunity to educate new recruits, and that in spite of the coffee shop’s position, officers would remain professional if called to serve and protect at Hasta Muerte:

“I think their position is very clear that they don’t want the police in there, and I can respect that,” said Sgt. Bryan Hubbard, vice president of the Police Officers’ Association who also runs the department’s training academies. “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.”

While the Oakland Police Dept. has certainly been exposed and duly criticized for corruption within its ranks, the city’s good cops face a staggering level of hatred directed toward them when moral disorder manifests itself. With this is mind, it’s too bad that the proprietors of Hasta Muerte would rather say no to a coffee summit than take a small, first step in becoming a truly inclusive community.

[Ed. – equating drug dealing and abuse with “toxic masculinity” is just embarrassing. Stop it.]

–Dana

2 Comments »

  1. What exactly is “toxic masculinity”? As a gringo that married into a rather large Hispanic family (my wife’s grandmothers had a combined 21 kids) I find it hilarious that a Hispanic coffee shop, of all places, would decry any sort of “toxic masculinity” given their culture’s view of the topic. I still remember the first time my mother-in-law asked me to watch an episode of Sabado Gigante and I was left feeling rather awkward sitting between her and my wife watching bikini clad Latinas paraded around on stage as they both laughed at the jokes.

    Comment by Sean — 3/12/2018 @ 9:36 am

  2. Hm, I hadn’t even considered the machismo factor, Sean.

    Comment by Dana — 3/12/2018 @ 9:46 am

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