A coffee shop in Oakland, California has refused service to police in uniform. Hasta Muerte Coffee, a "POC collectively run, worker-owned coffee shop," according to its website, cited the alleged Oakland Police Department’s "history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal." After refusing service to a sergeant who came into the coffee shop, the business sent a letter to the local police union, announcing that the business "does not serve the police."

In a February 22 Instagram post, Hasta Muerte Coffee put up a photo with text in Spanish that translates to, "Talk to your neighbors, not the police." The post mentioned the exchange with Sgt. Robert Trevino from a week earlier and stated, "We have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves."

 

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 Feb 22, 2018 at 7:47pm PST

The day he was refused service, Sgt. Trevino left the shop surprised, without coffee, and without incident. The police are calling this a "teachable moment," and the sergeant said he wants to develop a better relationship with the shop and the rest of the community. On Thursday, the Oakland Police Department tweeted, "OPD along with other community members are reaching out to the business to have constructive dialogue in our efforts to unite our community."