San Francisco, California, has been at the forefront of a recent anti-police trend, including calls to defund local law enforcement agencies.
Democratic Mayor London Breed was among the first elected officials to take concrete steps to substantially reduce funding and staffing, a move widely believed to have ushered in a spike in crime that continues to plague the city.
She tacitly acknowledged the error in 2021 when she announced an effort to devote more money to crime-fighting initiatives.
“I’m proud this city believes in giving people second chances,” the mayor said at the time. “Nevertheless, we also need there to be accountability when someone does break the law. … Our compassion cannot be mistaken for weakness or indifference. … I was raised by my grandmother to believe in ‘tough love,’ in keeping your house in order, and we need that, now more than ever.”
Despite ongoing crime that has forced a number of businesses to close and major chains to leave the city entirely, at least one of those that remain in operation has taken an unabashedly hostile position toward San Francisco police.
According to a social media statement from the San Francisco Police Officers Association, Reem’s baker and restaurant recently refused to serve an officer in uniform.
NO COPS ALLOWED. That’s the confirmed policy of the bakery chain Reem’s. One of our officers was denied service last weekend because he was in uniform. Reem’s confirms that they will not serve anyone armed and in uniform. Presumably, this includes members of the US Military. pic.twitter.com/0cDzEV0D68
— San Francisco POA (@SanFranciscoPOA) August 24, 2023
Officer Vincent Fontela recalled the incident, explaining: “I politely left because I believe that police officers and community members should spend more time listening to each other than shouting at each other. But you can’t do that when you presence isn’t wanted and your money is no good.”
Lt. Tracy McCray, the president of the city’s police union, noted that SFPOA sent a request to Reem’s for an official policy regarding its denial of service to individuals in uniform.
In response, the business wrote: “At Reem’s we do have a policy to not serve anyone that is armed in a uniform. All officers are welcome to come to our establishment when they are off duty and not armed.”
A separate statement posted to Instagram cites the restaurant’s “deep commitment to uplifting social and racial justice in our communities” as a reason for the policy — but McCray sees it as a form of discrimination and challenged the company to share its controversial position publicly.