San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Tuesday that an incident last week when police officers were refused service at a local restaurant was “upsetting” and a disappointment.
Scott praised the officers’ professionalism at the Hilda and Jesse restaurant in the city’s North Beach neighborhood Friday when three uniformed, on-duty officers were asked to leave because employees were uneasy about their service weapons.
“We wear uniforms but we’re all humans,” Scott told CNN’s Michael Smerconish. “We get things done to us and said to us that are hurtful, but we have to rise above it and be professional. That’s what these officers did.”
In a since-deleted post reported by local media, the restaurant’s social media account stated that staff felt “uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons” and the officers were asked to leave.
“We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do. We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform, and without their weapons,” the post said.
The restaurant’s stance sparked a fierce reaction online and it was subsequently inundated with negative comments on review sites such as Yelp.
The owners, Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton, later apologized in another social media post, stating “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 repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD.
“These are stressful times, and we handled this badly,” they said.
Scott said he spoke with the owners over the phone on Tuesday and has accepted their apology.
“One of the things that we have to do, and this was said by the owners of the restaurant, is we have to sit down and have conversations,” Scott said. “We know that there are sometimes opposite sides of conversations about police officers and policing. But we sit down, we have conversations, and we can agree to disagree, but there has to be some civility in this process.”