Don’t bother going to Hasta Muerte Coffee if you’re a uniformed police officer.
The coffee shop in Oakland, California, asked a local police sergeant to leave after he stopped by for a cup of joe a few weeks ago, according to KTVU. The shop, with a name that means “until death” in Spanish, is a worker-owned co-op with a policy of turning away law enforcement officials.
An Instagram post from Hasta Muerte Coffee explains the business’ reasoning for refusing to serve cops.
It came with a picture that said “Talk to your neighbors, not the police” in Spanish.
“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,’” the post read. “ … 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.”
The Oakland Police Officers Association asked for an explanation for the no-police policy, according to NBC Bay Area.
The shop — with a website describing it as a place “operated collectively by people of color, where the workers are owners” — didn’t respond to the police association letter or NBC’s request for comment.
Noel Gallo, an Oakland city councilmember who represents the coffee shop’s district, told KTVU that he met with workers from Hasta Muerte Coffee about their policy.
“My understanding is they’re not going to serve police officers,” Gallo said. “I don’t agree with that, 100 percent. I think we need to work together, not against each other.”
The controversy even reached the “Fox & Friends” panel this week.
Steve Doocy, co-host of the conservative morning show on Fox News, asked “when somebody comes into this coffee shop to rob them, who are they going to call?”
While some expressed anger about the shop’s rule, others argued that Hasta Muerte Coffee has a right to determine who can enjoy its freshly-brewed drinks. That includes Tenaya Gunter Brown, who lives in Oakland.
“I think that if a group of people don’t feel safe with a police officer currently on duty, coming into a space,” she told KTVU, “ … then that is a choice they should be able to make.”
The unidentified officer who Hasta Muerte Coffee refused to serve told NBC that he hopes to talk to people at the shop and find a way to bridge the divide.
The shop wrote on Instagram that it wouldn’t be surprised if police to try to maintain “smooth public relations to uphold power.”
“We want to put this out to our communities now, in case we end up facing backlash because as we know (Oakland police), unlike the community, has tons of resources, many of which are poured into maintaining smooth public relations to uphold power,” the Instagram post read. “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.”