Starbucks Apologizes After 2 Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputies Said They Were Refused Service

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Starbucks issued an apology Saturday after the Riverside County sheriff said two of his deputies were refused service at a Riverside location this week.

The officers were ignored for nearly five minutes on Thursday evening at the Starbucks on University Avenue, near the University of California, Riverside, a spokesperson for the coffee retailer confirmed Saturday. The representative said Starbucks has reached out to the officers to apologize over the encounter, which the company believes is a case of bad customer service.

The statement, emailed to KTLA, reads:

“There is simply no excuse for how two Riverside deputies were ignored for nearly 5 minutes at our store on Thursday evening. We are deeply sorry and reached out to apologize directly to them. We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect shown to law enforcement on whom we depend every day to keep our stores and communities safe. No customer, in or out of uniform, should ever have that experience at a Starbucks. The partners (employees) who worked that evening will not be scheduled to work while we investigate and take the appropriate steps.”

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco tweeted about the incident on Friday afternoon, saying two of the agency's deputies were refused service at a Starbucks location. He said "the anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end."

Bianco offered more details in a video interview posted early Saturday on a Facebook group for Riverside residents.

"They asked if anyone was going to help them," Bianco said. "They were laughed at. They were completely ignored—obviously ignored. Other patrons knew they were being ignored."

The sheriff noted that the deputies "handled themselves well" by leaving to get coffee somewhere else.

"I’m very, very proud of them," Bianco said.

The sheriff acknowledged that Starbucks has contacted the department to apologize.

"They’re very, very adamant that Starbucks does not believe that and that they do not condone that type of behavior, which is great. And I don’t believe they do," Bianco said in the video. "But don’t downplay what happened."

The encounter follows a Thanksgiving Day incident at an Oklahoma Starbucks where, according to a police chief, one of his officers picked up a coffee order that read "PIG" on the label.

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