OAKLAND, Calif. — If you’re a cop in Oakland, don’t bother going to Hasta Muerte Coffee.
The worker-owned coffee shop and self-proclaimed radical book store refused service to a uniformed police officer February 16 and is defending its policy because the California business believes, as it said in an Instagram posting, “police presence compromises our feeling of physical & emotional safety.”
The officer who was turned away is a sergeant and president of the Latino Police Officers Association of Alameda County, according to KCRA. He told KCRA he was surprised he was refused service, and he walked out without incident. The officer was not named in the KCRA report.
Attempts to reach coffee shop personnel and officials with the Oakland Police Department were unsuccessful Friday.
The department tweeted on Thursday that it “respects business owners right to serve anyone they choose” and that police officials along with other community members are “reaching out to the business to have constructive dialogue in our efforts to unite our community.”
Hasta Muerte Coffee’s owners posted to their Instagram, stating they had “a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves.” They went on to accuse the police department of having a history of “corruption, mismanagement and scandal” along with a “legacy of blatant repression.” The owners also said the shop needs the support the community, not the police, to keep their business safe. The shop also posted a photo of other posts criticizing its decision with the words “not my president” plastered over them.
The officer’s race or his affiliation with a Latino organization meant nothing, the shop’s post said, and the department’s “short term touting” of having less officer-involved shootings didn’t erase the department’s history.
“The facts are that poc (people of color), 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,” the post read.
Hasta Muerte Coffee’s name is Spanish for “until death.” The shop began raising money to fund its opening in late 2016 through the crowdsourcing site KickStarter. The business has shared a space with another tenant since its founding, but opened its own building in November 2017.