Morro Bay Starbucks barista allegedly called cops ‘pigs’ — but the police aren’t mad

New Morro Bay Police Chief Jody Cox, left, poses for a photo with a Starbucks barista in July.
New Morro Bay Police Chief Jody Cox, left, poses for a photo with a Starbucks barista in July. Morro Bay Police Department

The Morro Bay Police Department says there are no hard feelings toward the Albertsons Starbucks after a barista allegedly told a customer’s child to call police officers “pigs.”

“We understand that every individual has the right to express their opinion and their thoughts within certain boundaries,” according to a post to the department’s Facebook page Friday. “We do not hold the actions or comments of a single person or individual, against others who had no part in those specific occurrences.”

A Starbucks employee at the Albertsons location who answered the phone on Friday said the employee who said the anti-police remark no longer works there.

The incident in question occurred in July while two officers were at the grocery store for a follow-up criminal investigation, acting Chief Jody Cox wrote in an email.

“While at that location, one of the Starbucks employees made a derogatory comment about police officers to a small (6- or 7-year-old) child who was standing in line with a parent,” Cox wrote. “The parent overheard the comment and reprimanded the employee, then addressed the incident with the employee’s supervisor.”

The department would not confirm what the derogatory remark was, but a pair of Yelp! reviews posted in mid-July both said the barista told the child to refer to police as “pigs.”

Read R K.'s review of Starbucks on Yelp

Cox wrote that the angry parent “then posted about the experience on their Facebook page, which created some controversy.”

The acting chief clarified that Morro Bay police did not take any part in the conversation at the time. He said he was motivated to make the Facebook post after a Starbucks employee spoke to him “hoping there was no animosity toward other employees or the franchise.”

“My post was simply to state that we do not hold other parties responsible for the individual acts or comments of one person,” Cox wrote. “It is also meant to discourage others from responding to those posts that attack others in making rude, derogatory or inappropriate comments.”

A manager at Albertsons declined to comment on the incident when called Friday.

A spokesman for Starbucks who declined to give his name told the Tribune that “we have reached out to our licensed store partner Albertsons to learn more about what may have happened in this case.”

“I can assure you there is no place in our stores for disruptive or disrespectful behavior,” he added.

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Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler