A San Francisco restaurant that calls itself a safe space for people of color has apologized after refusing to serve armed police officers in uniform because they made the staff “uncomfortable.”
Hilda and Jesse announced on Instagram that the restaurant politely asked three SFPD officers to leave the premises on Friday due to “their multiple weapons.” The post said the restaurant was grateful for the department’s work and that they would welcome anyone in law enforcement off-duty and without guns.
On Twitter, co-owner Rachel Sillcocks asked for understanding in part because the eatery is a haven for queer and BIPOC individuals. But SFPD Chief William Scott responded with a rebuke. He tweeted that the department encourages officers to patronize businesses they are sworn to protect, and that he found the restaurant’s action disappointing and discouraging. He added that he believes the majority of San Franciscans “welcome their police officers.”
The restaurant also received a spate of bad reviews on Yelp, as well as social media backlash, SFGate reported. On Sunday, it responded with another Instagram post apologizing.
“We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident,” Sillcocks and co-owner Kristina Liedags Compton wrote on Instagram.
“These are stressful times ― and we handled this badly,” the statement concluded.
As of Monday morning, the restaurant’s Yelp page carried an “unusual activity alert” to indicate that consumer reviews may reflect opinions on the restaurant’s action, rather than the dining experience. All reviews were temporarily disabled.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.