The Anti-Police Coffee Shop

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

A coffee shop refuses service to police officers for the “physical and emotional safety” of the customers.

There’s nothing wrong with publicly shaming a coffee shop for refusing service to police officers simply because they are police officers. But the management of Hasta Muerte Coffee complained about that. There is nothing wrong with publicly shaming police, but it is wrong for the community to do the same to them.

Law & Crime reports, “Coffee Shop Won’t Serve Cops ‘For the Physical and Emotional Safety’ of Customers.

A coffee shop in California is refusing to serve law enforcement officers for the “physical and emotional safety” of their customers, according to the shop’s own social media.

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Hasta Muerte Coffee is an employee-owned cooperative located in Oakland, California.

The cafe’s “no cops” policy was recently highlighted by the local NBC affiliate after a sergeant with the Oakland Police Department showed up wearing his uniform and was asked to leave.

According to that report, the sergeant left without causing a scene and told reporters that he’s looking forward to talking about the policy with the shop owners in order to build a better relationship.

But the officer’s alleged desire to build a better relationship with the cafe isn’t going very well.

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

Notice how unrepentant they are:

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.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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