Owners of San Fran restaurant apologize for booting on-duty uniformed cops – but may do it again

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The co-owners of a San Francisco restaurant have issued an apology after kicking out three uniformed police officers saying they “handled this badly,” but they have not ruled out booting armed, uniformed police officers in the future.

The owners of Hilda and Jesse initially refused to serve the three San Francisco Police Department cops on Friday after they sat down at a table. A report by ABC7 noted that one of the eatery’s owners said the “presence” of the officers made staff members “uncomfortable.”

“It’s not about the fact that we are anti-police,” said co-owner of Hilda and Jesse, Rachel Sillcocks. “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,” Sillcocks said.

Sillcocks went on to say that the officers are welcome back at the restaurant anytime they want, but with one caveat: They can’t carry their weapons.

The co-owners took to Instagram on Sunday to apologize for asking the cops to vacate the premises.

“We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant,” Sillcocks and co-owner Kristina Liedags Compton wrote. “We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times.”

They went on to write that they would like to use the incident as a “teachable moment,” but notably they did not say whether officers who are on duty and, thus, armed, are welcome to dine at the eatery.

Meanwhile, Yelp, the online restaurant review platform, noted in an announcement it was temporarily suspending users’ ability to write reviews of Hilda and Jesse due to “increased public attention.”

“This business recently received increased public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news,” says the announcement. “While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to this incident, we’ve temporarily disabled the posting of content to this page as we work to investigate the content you see here reflects actual consumer experiences rather than the recent events.”

Following the Friday incident in which the officers were asked to leave, several one-star reviews were left on Yelp for the restaurant that were critical of the co-owners’ action.

“Given that this business has decided to Discriminate against first responders, I reserve the right to Call For A Boycott Of Hilda and Jesse,” noted one user in messages that were typical.

In a Saturday Twitter post, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott wrote that he found the action “discouraging and personally disappointing.”

“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 noted.

“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,” he added.

The incident comes amid a dramatic rise in crime in several California cities including San Francisco, where so-called “smash-and-grab” robberies are on the rise and citizens have said they feel increasingly less safe in the city.

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Jon Dougherty

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