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San Francisco Restaurant Apologizes After Backlash For Refusing To Serve Armed Police Officers

San Francisco Restaurant Apologizes After Backlash For Refusing To Serve Armed Police Officers
San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images

A San Francisco restaurant has issued an apology after receiving considerable backlash for refusing to serve three armed police officers.

Hilda and Jesse, a popular breakfast establishment, reportedly asked the three unnamed officers to leave the restaurant because they were making the other patrons "uncomfortable" by openly carrying their guns.

In a statement on a since deleted Instagram post, the restaurant declared they "politely" asked the officers to leave the premises owing to the "multiple weapons" they were carrying.

The post also emphasized their gratitude in all the police force does, and said anyone working in law enforcement was welcome to come by any time, provided they didn't bring their guns with them.

Co-owner Rachel Sillcocks went into further detail in their decision in a subsequent Twitter post.

"Our restaurant is a safe space- particularly for queer and bipoc individuals."
"Furthermore, the fact that they were in uniform with multiple weapons on them made our staff uncomfortable, and potentially other guests, so they were asked to leave."
"We would happily welcome them off duty, out of uniform and without weapons."
"We're sorry that the decision upset you. We understand your perspective and we hope you'll consider ours."

Several Twitter users commended Sillcocks and the restaurant for their decision.

However, not everyone was 100% sold on their decision, with several finding the restaurant's actions discriminatory.

Others believed it opened up a slippery slope for how they could justify refusing service in the future.

Also less than pleased with the actions of the restaurant, was San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott.

He responded to Sillcock's post in his own lengthy statement on Twitter.

"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."
"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."

Many supported Chief Scott's post and further condemned Hilda and Jesse's decision to kick out the armed officers.

Others still defended the restaurant.

They felt the officers had no reason to bring their guns inside with them inside and it was completely within the owners' rights to ask them to leave.

In spite of a firm number of supporters, Hilda and Jesse found themselves bombarded with bad reviews on Yelp following the incident.

This resulted in their Yelp page receiving an "unusual activity alert" badge, indicating reviews may have been based on the restaurant’s actions as opposed to food, ambiance or service, leading to reviews for Hilda and Jesse to be temporarily disabled.

Hilda and Jesse’s co-owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton eventually posted an apology to their Instagram page.

"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."
"We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we prepare, and continue to build bridges with the SFPD."
"These are stressful times and we handled this badly."

Comments on the post were disabled, making it unclear if the SFPD has accepted their apology and may return to dine at Hilda and Jesse, or if those who supported their initial decision might now be looking for somewhere else to be their weekend brunch spot.