A local bakery in San Francisco is facing backlash from the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SF POA) after refusing to serve an armed police officer. Reem's California, an Arab bakery located on Mission Street, implemented a policy to not serve anyone armed and in uniform. The SF POA took to social media to express their outrage, posting a screenshot of an email exchange between the union and the bakery. The email from Reem's spokesperson stated, "At Reem's, we do have a policy to not serve anyone that is armed in a uniform." The union responded by condemning the bakery's policy as “bigoted” and "discriminatory," and demanded that Reem's put up a sign alerting customers to their policy.
In response to the criticism, Reem's California defended their gun policy on social media, stating that it is implemented to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. The bakery emphasized its commitment to social and racial justice in the community and cited the increase in gun violence, particularly affecting people of color, youth, and queer people, as their reason for maintaining a strict no-guns policy. Reem's stated that prohibiting guns in their restaurant helps create a safer environment.
Reem's California informed news outlet Mission Local that this policy has been in place since they first opened in 2017. On their website, the bakery lists "social justice" as one of their core values, alongside sustainability and community building. A spokesperson clarified that police officers are welcome to dine at the establishment when they are off-duty and unarmed.
In response to the controversy, Reem's California announced that their San Francisco location would be temporarily closed until September 5. The bakery did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and neither did the SF POA.
This incident is not the first time a business in San Francisco has turned away police officers. In 2021, the owners of Hilda and Jesse, a local restaurant, defended their decision to turn away three on-duty police officers, citing their anti-gun policy. However, they later apologized for their actions. Similarly, earlier this year, a local pizza shop fired an employee who told several police officers that they were not welcome.
Reem's California has become a popular attraction in the Mission district since its opening before the pandemic. Founded by chef Reem Assil, the bakery aims to create a space where people can enjoy delicious Arab food while working towards strengthening the community.
The controversy surrounding Reem's California's policy highlights the ongoing tension between law enforcement and businesses in San Francisco. As the city continues to grapple with issues of gun violence and social justice, the decision to deny service to armed police officers has sparked a heated debate on the balance between safety and discrimination.
themes: San Francisco California