San Francisco, CA – Three on-duty, uniformed San Francisco police officers were kicked out of a local restaurant Friday because their firearms made employees working there “uncomfortable,” according to the eatery’s owners.
The incident occurred at Hilda and Jesse, a brunch spot located on Union Street and Powell, KRON reported.
The business just launched Nov. 1.
Three uniformed San Francisco police officers stopped by for a bite to eat during their shift and were seated in the dining area.
Moments later, restaurant staff asked the officers to leave.
“Shortly after seating them, our staff felt uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons,” Hilda and Jesse said in an Instagram post on Saturday. “We then politely asked them to leave.”
Hilda and Jesse went on to tout the restaurant as a “safe space,” and said the “presence of the officers’ weapons” inside the business “made us feel uncomfortable.”
The business noted in another statement that it is especially important for “queer and bipoc individuals” to feel safe in the eatery.
“We’re sorry that the decision upset you,” the statement read. “We understand your perspective and we hope you’ll consider ours.”
Hilda and Jesse said in the Instagram post that they appreciate law enforcement officers and that they still want them to stop by off-duty.
“We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do,” the restaurant added. “We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform, and without their weapons.”
The business further claimed they were not trying to make a “political statement,” and that they only did what they believed was best for their staff.
“It’s not about the fact that we are anti-police,” Hilda and Jesse co-owner Rachel Sillcocks told KGO. “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.”
“This is about guns being in our space, and we don’t allow it,” Sillcocks added.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott addressed the issue in a series of tweets on Saturday, noting that the city’s officers are encouraged to “support local business and get to know those they’re sworn to safeguard” as a means of community engagement.
“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,” Chief Scott wrote. “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.”
Sillcocks and the restaurant’s other owner, Kristina Liedags Compton, released another Instagram post Sunday, saying they made a “mistake” in handling the “unfortunate incident.”
But they did not indicate whether or not uniformed law enforcement officers will be welcomed at the eatery in the future.
“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,” they wrote. “We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times.”
Compton and Sillcocks said they “hope this will be a teachable moment.”
“These are stressful times, and we handled this badly,” they added.
Comments for the restaurant’s Instagram posts have been disabled.
Business review platform Yelp shut down new reviews for Hilda and Jesse over the weekend after people flooded the restaurant’s Yelp page with hundreds of one-star reviews, Business Insider reported.
“This business recently received increased public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their views on the news,” as statement on the Yelp page read. “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.”