To the editor:
I applaud the owners of Battle Grounds coffee for reaching out to the Tempe, Arizona, police with some free coffee as a way of offering redress to the officers who were asked to leave because some loiterer in a Tempe Starbucks felt "uncomfortable" in the presence of law enforcement.
As a longtime and loyal Starbucks customer, I reached out to the corporate office to get my own assurance that this unacceptable behavior toward first responders was not condoned and would be corrected.
From the response I received within an hour of my email, and from what I have read in press releases and public statements elsewhere, Starbucks as a company reached out to the Tempe police and met with them personally, and it seems the Tempe Police Department was satisfied that their concerns were heard and there would not be a repeat of the incident.
Knowing Starbucks to be a responsible corporate citizen, one that treats employees and customers fairly, I take them at their word here. It sounds like the Starbucks employee, who was on a first name basis with a few of the officers, some of whom are military veterans, was put in a bad place and did not want to be front-page news as past employees of Starbucks have been, so simply asked if the officers would mind leaving. They did not.
That being said, that should never happen in any store in America, and certainly not on Independence Day.
Police have very difficult jobs and never know what kind of situations they are walking into during any part of their days. They should not worry about criminals or radical activists having the ability to have them cleared out of legitimate businesses when they are picking up a cup of coffee or a sandwich before their shift, or even if they are stopping in as part of their patrols.
If anything, this incident is a reflection of the larger, growing problems that America has created for herself by selectively embracing lawlessness and broadly impugning selfless front-line responders.
The time to walk that toxic behavior back is long since past.