SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A restaurant that denied service to three San Francisco Police Department officers because their weapons made staff “uncomfortable” has apologized.
The restaurant, called Hilda and Jesse, said staff politely asked the armed officers in uniform to leave on Friday shortly after seating them, according to the post. Hilda and Jesse said the restaurant is a “safe space,” and the presence of weapons prompted its staff to deny the officers service, the business said in a social media post.
“We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do,” the post wrote. “We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform, and without their weapons.”
The restaurant said its actions are not a political statement, stating it did what it thought was best for its staff.
Police Chief William Scott tweeted a response, saying community engagement is a “core principle” of police reform and officers are asked to shop and eat at small businesses in order 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,” Scott continued. “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.”
On Sunday, Hilda and Jesse apologized for the way the incident was handled.
“We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times,” the restaurant said. “We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD. These are stressful times, and we handled this badly.”
The restaurant has faced backlash on Yelp since the incident, receiving so many negative reviews that it’s been left with an average one-star rating. Yelp has temporarily paused the ability to leave reviews for Hilda and Jesse as it sorts through which posts are based on first-hand experiences and which are in response to the incident involving SFPD.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3:05 p.m. to include an apology issued by the restaurant.