The owners of a San Francisco diner have apologized two days after turning away SFPD officers because of their guns.
The owners of Hilda and Jesse immediately regretted their action, which resulted in a flood of one-star reviews on the restaurant’s Yelp page.
Owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton initially explained on Instagram that they refused service to the officers because their weapons were making patrons feel “uncomfortable.” On Twitter, they made another announcement justifying their action, explaining that their restaurant was a “safe space for queer and bipoc individuals.”
San Francisco law enforcement were disappointed with the restaurant’s actions.
“Three foot-beat officers looking to eat where they patrol are treated without any tact or class by this establishment. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurants that don’t discriminate and will welcome our officers working to try and keep all San Franciscans safe,” The San Francisco Police Officers Association said in a statement.
SFPD Chief William Scott also responded to the restaurant’s tweet, elaborating on the SFPD’s commitment to engage with the community and the department’s intention to reform policing.
“Community engagement is a core principle of SFPD’s 21st century police reforms, and we are intentional about asking our officers to support local businesses and get to know those they’re sworn to safeguard,” he wrote.
He noted that he was disappointed with the restaurant’s actions, but respected their wishes.
“The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety with respect, even when it means respecting wishes that our officers and I find discouraging and personally disappointing. I believe the vast majority of San Franciscans welcome their police officers, who deserve to know that they are appreciated for the difficult job we ask them to do — in their uniforms — to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe.”
However, the post didn’t set well with the general public, who made sure to support the police. The public outcry led to a barrage of negative reviews and destroyed the companies’ credibility, which prompted the owners to publicly apologize on Instagram.
“We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant. We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times,” the post read.
“We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges within the SFPD. These are stressful times, and we handled this badly,” the post continued.
Yelp has currently frozen the company’s page to stop the income of negative reviews, noting that many of them came from outside the SF area.
“We’re in the middle of a crime wave and this place tells two police officers to leave? Forget it. SFPD is one of the most diverse forces in the nation and are literally saving lives daily if not hourly,” one person wrote.
“As a nurse and person who serves alongside officers and other first responders, I’m disappointed to see this so-called ‘non-political’ decision from a business,” another commented.
“I would not support or recommend a San Francisco business that discriminates against the SFPD. Shame on you!!! May the eggs of a Thousand Cockroach’s hatch and infest your kitchen. I hope the Health Department Shuts you down….” a third wrote.
This isn’t the first conflict in recent years between restaurants and uniformed police officers. In 2019, Today.com recounted several incidents between police and Starbucks chains – one in which an employee was fired for writing “pig” on an officer’s cup, and another where six officers were kicked out.