American News Dec 5, 2021 4:32 PM EST

San Francisco restaurant apologizes after refusing service to three SFPD officers, said staff felt 'uncomfortable' with their weapons

"Furthermore, the fact that they were in uniform with multiple weapons on them made our staff uncomfortable, and potentially other quests, so they were asked to leave."

San Francisco restaurant apologizes after refusing service to three SFPD officers, said staff felt 'uncomfortable' with their weapons
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Update: The restaurant backtracked its original statement and are now apologizing. "We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," the restaurant's Instagram account wrote.

"We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times," the post continued.

The establishment's co-owners noted in the update that "these are stressful times, and we handled this badly," calling the incident "a teachable moment" as the company looks to "repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD."

On Friday, a California brunch restaurant asked three San Francisco police officers to leave their establishment, stating that their "multiple weapons" made their staff, and potentially their guests, feel "uncomfortable."

"Our restaurant is a safe space — particularly for queer and biopic individuals," wrote Rachel Sillcocks, Hilda and Jesse chef and co-owner, in a statement. "Furthermore, the fact that they were in uniform with multiple weapons on them made our staff uncomfortable, and potentially other quests, 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," she continued.

Sillcocks told ABC 7 that asking the officers had nothing to do with their profession, and everything to do with the presence of their weapons.

"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," she told ABC7. "It is about the fact that we do not allow weapons in our restaurant. We were uncomfortable, and we asked them to leave. It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns."

"We understand how much the police support and protect the community," she added. "We want to again reiterate the fact that this is about guns being in our space, and we don't allow it."

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott responded to the incident on Twitter, stating that community engagement is a core principle of the SFPD.

"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," wrote Scott.

"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 added. "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."

Following the incident, the restaurant's Yelp page was flooded with one star reviews from those that disagreed with their decision to ask the officers to leave. Their rating on the website was brought down to one star as a result.

"This is one of those times I wish I could post with zero stars. The owners and staff of this place have little regard for their customers and are more than guilty of excluding some customers because of their chosen profession. It will be interesting if this dump experiences a smash and grab and who the owners call for help," wrote one Yelp user. "Building a business on principles off disrespect, bias and prejudice is some kind of model."

"Telling uniformed police officers to leave your business because they are carrying guns??  Your staff feels uncomfortable because someone has a gun in your restaurant? Uniformed cops who are actually protecting you?  You say you have a policy to not allow guns on your premises?  Can you produce that policy?" responded another Yelp user. Seriously? I hope you get robbed !  Who you gunna call? The ghost busters?  Do you really think any SFPD will respond to any call for service at your restaurant?"

"Given that this business has decided to Discriminate against first responders, I reserve the right to Call For A Boycott Of Hilda and Jesse. Because if Hilda and Jesse can discriminate against an officer on Lunch, then what is to stop them from doing the same to Health Care Workers due to a fear of COVID," wrote one Yelp user. "I am an Out Gay Man in SF, and I find the misrepresentation that the LGBTQ community needs protection from the SFPD to be offensive."

"To the owners, If you prohibit weapons why do you have kitchen knives?  You told the cops you didn't trust them with their work tools," wrote another Yelp user, who gave five stars "just because my 1 star review would get lost within the others."

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