Recently, a sergeant from the Oakland PD and newly elected NLPOA Alameda Chapter member was refused coffee at a local shop. The following is an open letter from the NLPOA National Headquarters President:
March 11, 2018
Open Letter from the Members of the National Latino Peace Officers Association
To Hasta Muerte Coffee, Oakland, California:
The reason for this letter is because we are in hopes of opening a dialogue with you, so we can come to a better understanding of each other. The members of the National Latino Peace Officers Association are comprised primarily of law enforcement officers that, in large part, strive to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities we serve; and, to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the criminal justice system.
On February 16, 2018, your coffee house denied service to a uniformed Oakland Police Sergeant who is also the President of the NLPOA Alameda County Chapter. The vast numbers of law enforcement officers fulfill their roles in our communities by doing an amazing job protecting and serving with respect and dignity. Your statement, “We have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves,” is highly concerning and creates further division between human beings that live and work in the same community.
NLPOA members strive to fulfill our mission in many ways, such as providing college scholarships to our inner-city youth, providing humanitarian aid, attending and hosting community events and most importantly, by engaging our communities in meaningful dialogue. The uniformed officer you turned away is a valued volunteer of our organization who has endeavored to not only lead his local Alameda Chapter by fulfilling the role as president but is also a leader within his police agency.
Your business turning away any police officer due only to the profession he or she chose is unjust, not only in our view but also thankfully in the view of most Americans. Your assumption that an officer’s presence will cause physical and emotional harm to you and your patrons is not only wrong but hurtful. And your action of turning away a person that you do not know or understand and assuming he or she is not a good person due to their profession is likely one of the biases and prejudices you espouse to end.
Despite these concerns, we are hopeful that we can reach a mutual understanding so together we can serve and enrich our community. We want to create this bridge between us not when we are called to break up a domestic violence incident, a neighborhood disturbance or while we are trying to prevent an illegal act, but when we are truly able to sit down and have a meaningful discussion. We need your help as we cannot hope to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community if the community turns us away.