The San Francisco police union put a local bakery on blast on Thursday, accusing it of "anti-police bigotry" after an employee refused to serve a police officer at its Mission District cafe last weekend.
“In a time of increased gun violence—particularly impacting people of color, youth and queer people—we believe that maintaining a strict policy of prohibiting guns in our restaurant keeps us safer,” said Bertha Greene, director of people and culture at Reem’s California.
Reem’s Fruitvale location prompted outrage on social media in 2017 for having a mural of a Palestinian activist, Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted in Israel for a 1969 grocery store bombing in Jerusalem that killed two university students. Odeh claims she was tortured before confessing and that she was a political prisoner. She was deported from the U.S. for immigration fraud in late 2017.
In a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the San Francisco Police Officers Association said an officer was denied service at the Mission Street Reem’s California because he was wearing a uniform and was told that the restaurant has a policy against serving anyone “armed and in uniform.”
“NO COPS ALLOWED. That’s the confirmed policy of the bakery chain Reem’s,” the Thursday post said.
The 2901 Mission St. cafe has been temporarily closed since at least Aug. 18, according to an Instagram post from the official Reem’s California account, which would predate the alleged incident from the police union.
A Reem's California spokesperson confirmed the incident the police officers union tweeted about.
"[It] was a polite interaction between our staff and the police officer, where our staff member explained Reem's policy, and explained that all officers are welcome to come to the establishment when they are unarmed and/or off duty," Greene said.
A customer at Reem’s Ferry Building cafe said he supports the policy.
“I fully support businesses that do that,” said Oakland resident Kye Ocasio-Paire, who is Black and said he has been threatened and followed by police. “I’m deeply triggered seeing a cop in uniform.”
The San Francisco Police Department said in an emailed statement Friday that "while businesses have the right, within the constraints of the law, to decide who they will and will not serve, the San Francisco Police Department remains steadfast in its commitment to meeting the public safety needs of ALL residents, businesses and visitors to our city no matter who they are."
The police union has called out local businesses before. In November, SoMa’s Pizza Squared drew the union’s ire after a cashier refused to serve police officers. The Detroit-style pizza shop later fired the cashier.
Reem’s California, founded by James Beard-nominated chef Reem Assil, operates two restaurants in San Francisco and a kitchen in Oakland.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at email@example.com