Rob Ferraro is the president of the Tempe Officers Association or otherwise known as the TOA. Recently he spoke out to Fox10 news via a phone conference in regards to an incident that occurred between five of his officers, a barista and a Starbucks customer. On July 4th five Tempe police officers made a decision to swing by for their daily coffee at the East Valley city Starbucks. Everything went on as normal. The officers ordered their drinks, paid for their drinks, waited for the beverages to be made but then opted to stay inside of the Starbucks location for a while. These five officers were standing near the front of the store conversing when they were approached by one of the baristas from behind the counter.

Unbeknownst to these officers a customer also visiting this location made a complaint about their presence. The customer quietly approached the barista and made the Starbucks employee aware of the fact that they felt uncomfortable with the loitering presence of the officers. Often time’s customers will stand and talk near the counter but on July 4th this situation changed. The barista made the decision to walk up to the officers and let them know that they needed to leave because another customer was uncomfortable with them. The common ground in this situation is that the five officers along with the uncomfortable customer were all paying customers and no parties should have been asked to leave. The officers complied with the request and promptly left. Ferraro explains that he was ultimately surprised by this request because the Tempe officers are typically viewed as safety resources for the public. He continued to say that they are there to protect the public and have not experienced this kind of discomfort from a civilian. Furthermore, the request from the barista escalated the overall disappointment of the situation due to the fact that this barista treated paying customers differently from other paying customers.

Two of the officers that vacated the Starbucks were offended that they were asked to leave and did not hide the fact of their disapproval of how the situation was handled. The TOA decided to air their grievances on social media by posting a picture with a caption that said “Dump Starbucks”. The entire story was retold by officers and the public outpouring of support was substantial. Rob Ferraro further mentioned in his phone conference that the Tempe Officers Association was in fact contacted by Starbucks. Starbucks reached out once the photo and story went viral on social media.

Starbucks officials did extend their deepest apologies’ in regards to the situation and further explained that they planned on investigating the situation to more adequately understand exactly what transpired.