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Oakland Coffee Shop Refuses to Serve Police Officers



    Coffee Shop in Oakland Refuses to Serve Police Officers

    A controversy is brewing at a coffee shop in Oakland, where police officer are not welcome. Sergio Quintana reports. (Published Friday, March 9, 2018)

    A controversy is brewing at a coffee shop in Oakland, where police officers are not welcome.

    The business, called Hasta Muerte Coffee, will not serve officers in uniform and turned away an officer a few weeks ago. The shop is an employee-owned co-op.

    Workers at Hasta Muerte did not respond to requests for comment on the policy to refuse service to police officers.

    But on the shop’s Instagram account, there's a photo posted with text that reads in Spanish: "Talk to your neighbors, not the police." The post continues about an exchange with a uniformed police officer on Feb. 16, and very clearly it states: "We have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves."

    The Oakland Police Officers Association sent the shop a letter, asking to open a dialogue about its policy.

    The sergeant who was turned away from the shop a few weeks ago said he was surprised but walked out without incident and without any coffee. He said he’s looking forward to talking with the shop owners to build a better relationship with them and the rest of the community.

    Hasta Muerte, which means "until death," in Spanish, is located in Oakland's Fruitvale district.


    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.

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