Oak­land cafe won’t sell cof­fee to po­lice

Of­fi­cers say pol­icy of­fers ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA - By Kim­berly Vek­lerov

After learn­ing that a new Oak­land cof­fee shop is re­fus­ing to serve uni­formed of­fi­cers, Oak­land po­lice of­fi­cials said Fri­day they want to use the in­ci­dent as an ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity for new recruits.

“I think their po­si­tion is very clear that they don’t want the po­lice in there, and I can re­spect that,” said Sgt. Bryan Hub­bard, vice pres­i­dent of the Po­lice Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion who also runs the de­part­ment’s train­ing academies. “If they do call the po­lice for any need, we’re go­ing to re­spond pro­fes­sion­ally and give them the same level of ser­vice as any­one else re­gard­less of their po­si­tion.”

Last month, when Oak­land Sgt. Robert Trevino walked into the cof­fee col­lec­tive, Hasta Muerte, Span­ish for “un­til death,” a barista told him the es­tab­lish­ment doesn’t serve po­lice of­fi­cers.

Trevino is the Alameda County chap­ter pres­i­dent of the na­tional Latino Peace Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion and works in the pre­dom­i­nantly Latino Fruit­vale neigh­bor­hood where the shop is lo­cated.

The cafe, which opened sev­eral months ago

after a suc­cess­ful crowd­fund­ing cam­paign, has a mu­ral out­side to memo­ri­al­ize Os­car Grant and oth­ers killed in po­lice shoot­ings. Hub­bard said he hadn’t spo­ken with Trevino to know his true rea­son for go­ing in — “aside from get­ting a cup of cof­fee, of course.”

“Know­ing him per­son­ally, he highly val­ues com­mu­nity polic­ing and he’s known as go­ing out and build­ing re­la­tion­ships with mer­chants,” Hub­bard said.

City Coun­cil­man Noel Gallo, who rep­re­sents the Fruit­vale district and has known Trevino since his youth, said the sergeant was do­ing ex­actly what he wanted more po­lice to do: in­tro­duc­ing them­selves to lo­cal busi­nesses, neigh­bors and schools and pa­trolling on foot or bike.

“We need to work to­gether, and that’s what we’re try­ing to do with law en­force­ment,” Gallo said, adding that the cor­ner has been “chal­lenged for years” with crime. “At the end of the day, when that cafe gets robbed or shot up or what­ever, we’re go­ing to have to call the po­lice.”

Gallo said he will reach out to Hasta Muerte and po­lice of­fi­cials next week “to see if we can work some­thing out to trust each other, or at least get along."

The Oak­land fire union has asked its mem­bers to re­frain from go­ing to the shop out of sol­i­dar­ity with po­lice of­fi­cers.

Trevino men­tioned his espresso re­jec­tion to Sgt. Barry Donelan, pres­i­dent of the po­lice as­so­ci­a­tion, who then sent a let­ter to Hasta Muerte, ask­ing it to clar­ify its pol­icy on whether it serves of­fi­cers.

“Ob­vi­ously, this is both a sur­prise and a mat­ter of con­cern for all Oak­land Po­lice Of­fi­cers,” Donelan wrote. “Oak­land Po­lice Of­fi­cers work tire­lessly ev­ery day to serve the res­i­dents of our City. I have never heard of Po­lice Of­fi­cers be­ing re­fused ser­vice by an Oak­land busi­ness.”

The col­lec­tive didn’t re­spond di­rectly, but posted on In­sta­gram a pic­ture say­ing in Span­ish, “Talk with your neigh­bors, not the po­lice” along­side an X’ed out po­lice badge.

The post went on to af­firm that Hasta Muerte does not serve po­lice be­cause “po­lice pres­ence com­pro­mises our feel­ing of phys­i­cal & emo­tional safety.”

“Since then, cop sup­port­ers are try­ing to pub­licly shame us on­line with low re­views be­cause this par­tic­u­lar po­lice visi­tor was Latino,” the shop wrote.

“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.”

Hasta Muerte did not re­turn a re­quest for com­ment.

Hub­bard said he and Trevino — who teaches a sec­tion in the academy on racial di­ver­sity — will use the in­ci­dent dur­ing train­ing to drive home the point that “it doesn’t mat­ter how peo­ple feel about the po­lice, you have to treat every­one equally.”

The Po­lice De­part­ment said on Twit­ter it re­spects busi­ness own­ers’ rights and that it was reach­ing out to “have con­struc­tive di­a­logue.”

“Work­ing in a di­verse city like this where there’s mixed feel­ings about the po­lice, we’re used to it,” Hub­bard said. “I didn’t lose any sleep over it.”

Paul Chinn / The Chron­i­cle

This mu­ral is on a wall out­side of Hasta Muerte Cof­fee in Oak­land, which re­fuses to serve po­lice of­fi­cers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.