"That's Cold-Blooded" - Oakland Coffee Shop Refuses To Serve Police In Uniform

Is the city of Oakland rejecting all forms of law enforcement? Just days after the mayor of the city forewarned the citizens of a looming ICE raid (and left 840 felonious illegal immigrants on the streets), it seems some of her citizens are taking her lead.

A barista at an employee-owned coffee shop in Oakland, Calif. ignited a controversy a few weeks ago when they asked a police officer to leave the shop because of a new policy that prohibits employees from serving police officers in uniform.

As NBC Bay Area reports, a lengthy instagram post written in Spanish titled "Talk to your neighbors, not the police" explains the coffee shop's policy and provides some context for the employees' decision to turn away a uniformed police officer on Feb. 16. The post very clearly states: "We have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves."


KTVU reported that the officer - who was not named by the media - said he traveled to the coffee shop to pick up a cup of coffee and to introduce himself.


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.

A post shared by Hasta Muerte Coffee (@hastamuertecoffee) on

In an effort to extend an olive branch to the community and assuage customers' fears relating to the police, the Oakland Police Officers Association sent the shop a letter asking to open a dialogue about its policy.

The sergeant who was turned away said he was surprised by the request, but left without incident - and without any coffee (KTVU  joked that police officers are now "personae non java" at Hasta Muerte). The officer told NBC he's looking forward to speaking with the employee-owners to build a better relationship with them.

Unsurprisingly, many area residents - including Latinos and people of color - said they felt the policy didn't make sense.

"I don't know what they got against them," said Roberto Lopez.

Another resident, who wished only to be identified as "T," agreed, saying, "I think it's cold blooded. I don't understand that."

A third woman said the policy is silly: "If somebody is breaking in [to the coffee shop], who are they gonna call?"

The cafe hasn't responded to the police union's letter sent two weeks ago requesting an explanation. Cafe managers declined to comment to KTVU.

But Oakland City Council member Noel Gallo, who represents the Fruitvale District, said she spoke to the cafe managers on Thursday and confirmed that it's still the shop's unwritten policy not to serve men and women in uniform.

"My understanding is they're not going to serve police officers," Gallo said.

"I don't agree with that, 100 percent," Gallo added. "I think we need to work together, not against each other."

The cafe opened several months ago at the corner of East 27th Street and Fruitvale Avenue.

As KTVU points out, the shop is a "worker-owned collective" with an anti-establishment bent that seeks to combat the militarization of police.

Still, one area resident said she supports the ban.

"I think that if a group of people don't feel safe with a police officer currently on duty, coming into a space, they want people in this neighborhood to be able to feel safe, coming into their space. Then that is a choice they should be able to make," said Tenaya Gunter Brown.

For now, police patrolling the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland will need to get their coffee fix at the Starbucks or Peet's Coffee Shop up the street.

One wonders if, after the courts ruled against two Orgeon bakers who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple (due to their religious beliefs), can the cops file suit against the Oakland coffee shop for refusing to serve them (due to the barista's feelings being hurt)? (of course, as we were reminded, those who 'protect and serve' are not a 'protected' class).


IH8OBAMA loveyajimbo Fri, 03/09/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

Dispatch:  Armed robbery and hostage situation in progress at Hasta Muerte Coffee Shop. All available units respond.


Dispatch:  Any available unit please respond.


Dispatch:  Reports of hostages being shot.  Any units please respond.

Coroner:  We are dispatching a body wagon but they will be stopping for lunch first.

In reply to by loveyajimbo

house biscuit Arnold Sat, 03/10/2018 - 09:44 Permalink

Jesusfrankenchrist, for purported independent thinkers, some of you are a predictable lot

Headline-knee jerk. Headline- seal bark.

The working assumption should be this story- like most- is staged, perhaps to gain sympathy for police, perhaps to sow division

Here's a thought exercise for you: why aren't the police in Broward County being ostracized? Because they are clearly complicit in the staged event in Parkland

Educate yourself. Ridicule The Parasites That Be. Ostracize their lapdogs.


In reply to by Arnold

fattail IH8OBAMA Sat, 03/10/2018 - 11:09 Permalink

Why does everyone feel safer around cops?  The florida school shooting showed they will only show up and do anything after the shooting has stopped.  They only feel empowered to shoot unarmed civilians. 

They are not going to sacrifice them selves to protect your property, why would they?  Why would they protect a strangers life?    The owner should arm themselves and provide their own security.  

Enough with the cop worshipping.  

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

rwe2late Bud Dry Fri, 03/09/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

"they have the right to refuse service to anyone"


That is definitely NOT true.

Legally, businesses do NOT have the right to refuse service

in a discriminatory manner  to members of a protected class.

They generally do have a right to refuse service to anyone (including members of a protected class) for legitimate business reason (e.g. intoxicated, abusive to staff or other customers, etc.).

Can they refuse someone who is not a member of a protected class for a spurious reason? Maybe. But they may at risk to be on the losing end of a lawsuit if they have no acceptable reason.


In reply to by Bud Dry

rls9642 Bud Dry Fri, 03/09/2018 - 22:02 Permalink

"they have the right to refuse service to anyone." LMAO!! Take your head out of your ass Bud Boy. It don't work that way. What do you think the response would be if they refused to serve a gay dude, or a black man, or a trannie, or a f'in muzzie terrorist? Every POS lefty in the Oakland area would be protesting outside their door, forcing them to apologize. Then the Oakland mayor would sanction them until they went out of business. But it's a good guy they're discriminating against and that's ok in Oakland.

In reply to by Bud Dry

Indo_Expat rls9642 Sat, 03/10/2018 - 17:49 Permalink

Fuck the Alameda County pigs, fuck the Oakland/Bay Area faggots and feral dindus, fuck the spics. They are all one and the same.

Fuck Oakland, it's already gone as is California. Hunters Point SF is a no-go area, the pigs won't even venture there in broad daylight. Ride BART from Fruitvale on through the Bay Tube, if you are white you are gambling with your life the pigs won't lift a finger to help and arrest you if you attempt to defend yourself against the marauding apes.

In reply to by rls9642

TheObsoleteMan Bud Dry Sat, 03/10/2018 - 10:01 Permalink

No, as a business you do not have the right to refuse product or service to anyone. If you don't believe that, just ask the baker who refused the queer couple a wedding cake. Or put up a sign saying you reserve the right to refuse product/service to blacks. See what happens next. The local authorities will shut you down, and it will be plastered all over the evening news. When you become a business today, you are agreeing to become a "public accommodation", and your rights as to who you decide to serve or not, end with that business license.

In reply to by Bud Dry