A week and a half after San Francisco’s police union tweeted about a local pizza shop refusing to serve a group of cops, the city’s Sheriff’s Office posted a TikTok publicizing an enjoyable trip to the pizzeria.
On the surface, the clip of smiling Pizza Squared employees and SF sheriff's deputies chowing down on slices outside the SoMa shop is in line with the feel-good, community-oriented posts found on the Sheriff’s Office's TikTok channel. The short video, posted on Feb. 9—National Pizza Day—is set to the Justin Bieber tune “Yummy.”
But reading between the lines of the clip—which was shared by the Twitter account of the union that represents SF’s deputy sheriffs—it could be viewed as a subtle rebuke of the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA).
The TikTok was posted 11 days after a Jan. 29 incident in which a cashier at Pizza Squared told several SF police officers they were “not welcome in the restaurant.” In response, the owner of the shop issued an apology and fired the cashier who told the cops to leave.
The SF Police Officers Association tweeted about the incident, calling it shameful. Though the POA acknowledged the owner’s apology on Twitter, that was not enough to stop a flood of negative reviews on Pizza Squared’s Yelp page.
Ken Lomba, a deputy sheriff who spoke to The Standard about the incident in his capacity as president of the SF Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said he thought the police union shouldn’t have publicized the incident.
“Personally, I think it was unprofessional of the POA to put that out on social media,” Lomba said. "They are public shaming and bullying people.”
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association previously put out a press release condemning the actions of the police union on Feb. 2.
Dustin DeRollo, a spokesperson with the SF Police Officers Association, called Lomba’s accusations a “publicity stunt,” and questioned his motives.
“This issue got entirely political, and it shouldn’t have,” DeRollo said. Both the SF Police Officers Association and the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association have recently been squabbling with each other over which agency should get to patrol San Francisco International Airport.
DeRollo went on to defend the police union, saying that someone else had already taken to Twitter to call out Pizza Squared for refusing service to officers.
“It was already out there publicly,” DeRollo said. “We felt it was important to acknowledge what happened and to detail how quickly and sincerely the business owner addressed the issue.”
While Lomba said he never likes hearing about law enforcement officers being refused service by local merchants, he said he found the POA’s actions equally distasteful.
“San Francisco has businesses leaving,” Lomba said. “What does the POA do? They come out and shame a business publicly. […] I just shake my head at the SFPOA.”
Asked about Lomba’s remarks, a representative from the San Francisco Police Department declined to comment and deferred to the police officers union.
Tara Moriarty, a spokesperson with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, declined to comment on Lomba’s pointed remarks about the SFPD and the Police Officers Association.
Moriarty, who was with the sheriff’s deputies when they visited Pizza Squared on National Pizza Day to film the TikTok clip, did say she was touched that the owners took swift action to fire the employee who told the SFPD to leave. And she really liked the pizza.
“It was the bomb,” Moriarty said.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, Tara Moriarty, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Sheriff's Office, was misidentified as a deputy sheriff.