Phoenix, AZ – A group of people representing two Phoenix restaurants spoke at a recent Phoenix City Council Community Budget Hearing and asked the council not to allocate any additional funding for police, kicking off a local boycott.
A retired police officer from Phoenix reported on Facebook that an anti-police group at the council’s budget meeting was affiliated with Emily Spetrino and Liam Murtagh, the owners of a vegetarian restaurant called The Coronado and a brand-new, Goth-themed vegan coffee shop called Dark Hall Coffee.
“There was one group that showed had about eight people get up and speak with the exact same anti-PD narrative. They encouraged the City Council to not provide any monies for the hiring of new police officers, because police are “harming the community, not keeping us safe,” the man posted.
“They spoke of police violence on black and brown people and talked about all the citizens we have killed this year. They asked the City Council to take the money they would spend on hiring police officers,” he wrote.
“Emily Spetrino & her husband happen to own two local businesses. One is Dark Hall Coffee at 7th Ave and Osborn. The other business is called The Coronado (formerly Coronado Cafe) at 7th Street and Monte Vista. I am asking all that read this please tell all of your friends and family not to give this woman your business. Thank you,” the post finished.
The post was quickly shared in law-enforcement groups, and one officer from a department in the Phoenix metro area wanted to verify this information.
He made a post explaining what he looked into it.
“Allegedly the proprietors of these establishments were saying police officers were ‘harming the community, not keeping it safe,’” he wrote in his post.
He wrote that he wanted to give the owners of the businesses the benefit of the doubt, so he went to The Coronado’s Facebook page and posted a question to them about it.
“There is a social media post circulating to boycott your business as apparently the owners up in a recent Phoenix Council meeting and argued against hiring more Phoenix Police Officers and describing violence committed by police officers against minorities. Is this true?” the officer asked on The Coronado’s Facebook page.
Less than an hour later, he received a reply directly from Spetrino that confirmed the original poster’s account of what happened at the city council meeting.
“Yes it is, thank you for asking,” Spetrino replied
He thanked her for her quick reply and let her know he’d spread the word, the officer told Blue Lives Matter in an interview late Friday afternoon.
“She didn’t seem concerned about a boycott,” the officer said.
That wouldn’t surprise anybody who knew that The Coronado had declared itself a “sanctuary restaurant” in an article in Restaurant Insider regarding staffing challenges they would face if certain immigration initiatives were passed or rescinded.
“We’ve already put ourselves out there politically. We’re afraid we could be a target for ICE raids,” Spetrino said.
The Coronado also chose Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro as their charity of choice for their Coffee for a Cause campaign in February.
Shortly after she replied to the curious cop on Friday morning, Spetrino removed her name from the list of “Team Members” on Dark Hall Coffee’s Facebook page, and deleted her conversation with the officer on The Coronado’s page, he said.
She also locked down her privacy settings on her personal Facebook page that had been open to the public just minutes before, the officer said.
The officer said that he checked Spetrino’s social media profile, and said she’s a frequent poster of anti-police articles and comments.
Some of his friends who saw his post also sent him screenshots of Spetrino’s posts, as the story about how the owners of the new coffee shop with a black and skeleton décor felt about police slowly began to go viral.
On April 12, she had posted an article on her own page about a dangerous situation where undercover officers clashed with one another in Detroit and titled it “Feel good story of the day” with a heart emoji.
“I wish they had all just shot each other,” Spetrino wrote in the comments below her original post.
The officer said she went on a rant against school resource officers in another post, saying they were overpaid and “literally just stand around all. damn. day. and have way less training” than teachers.
“I got really angry because what she’s doing is demonizing police. Just like Sheriff Schultz said yesterday after two of his deputies were murdered in Gilchrist County in Florida,” the officer said. “The recent demonization of police was partly to blame for officers’ murders.”
Blue Lives Matter left messages for Spetrino at Dark Hall Coffee and The Coronado, and reached out via email as well, but did not receive comment back.