Restaurant apologises after asking police to leave for carrying guns

A restaurant which asked three uniformed police officers to leave because they felt uncomfortable has apologised, admitting staff “handled this badly”.

Staff at Hilda and Jesse, a restaurant in San Francisco, posted on Instagram last Friday they asked police to leave because the “presence of the officer’s weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable”.

“We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do,” the post read.

“We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform and without their weapons."

Hilda and Jesse in San Francisco is pictured.
Hilda and Jesse staff asked three uniformed police officers to leave the establishment last week leading to widespread criticism. Source: KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco

However, following a wave of criticism over the decision, the restaurant’s owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton apologised and said staff “made a mistake”.

"We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times,” the co-owners wrote.

“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."

Rachel Sillcocks is pictured.
Rachel Sillcocks, one of the restaurant's owners, has apologised. Source: ABC7 News Bay Area

'Shame on you'

A number of Yelp reviewers criticised the decision to refuse the officers service.

“I would never give you a penny of my money or a second of my time. How dare you ask SF police to leave,” one man from Arizona wrote.

Another man called the decision “close-minded and a bit hateful” while a number wrote: “shame on you”.

San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott tweeted that police “deserve public support” after learning of the officers being kicked out.

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He added the industry also needs young people to consider careers in policing and to know that they will be welcomed by the community of San Francisco.

The police chief has since accepted the apology and that he has spoken with the restaurant’s owners.

"We know that there are sometimes opposite sides of conversations about police officers and policing,” he told CNN.

“But we sit down, we have conversations, and we can agree to disagree, but there has to be some civility in this process."

US confidence in police wanes

The refusal of service to police officers comes at a time of some tense relations between members of the public and law enforcement – particularly following the BLM protests in 2020 after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.

A Gallup Survey in August last year found Americans’ trust in police is at an all-time low at 48 per cent – its lowest in 27 years.

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