“We’re parked down there. Can you drop us off, possibly? I’m terrified.” – Troy Worden
On February 16th, “a sergeant and president of the Latino Police Officers Association of Alameda County,” and a member of the Oakland Police Department, walked into the newly opened Hasta Muerte Coffee shop, a cooperative run by workers of color, and located in the working-class and predominantly Latin@ neighborhood of Fruitvale, which is rapidly undergoing gentrification. Instead of a hot cup of coffee and a handshake however, the sergeant was promptly refused service and told that the store had a policy of not serving law enforcement. Very quickly, news of the interaction spread and in response, Hasta Muerte issued a statement on their Instagram page about a week later:
OPDs recent attempts to enlist officers of color and its short term touting of fewer officer involved shootings does not reverse or mend its history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal, nor a legacy of blatant repression.
The facts are that poc, women, and queer police are complicit in upholding the same law and order that routinely criminalizes and terrorizes black and brown and poor folks, especially youth, trans, and houseless folks.
For these reasons and so many more, we need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police.
In return, the Oakland Police Association wrote a letter to the space asking to further discuss the matter, and by the 8th of March, the story had blown up in the local news, before spreading into the mainstream and then being picked up in the far-Right press by outlets like Breitbart, Fox News, The Daily Caller, and InfoWars. As could be expected following such reporting, the store was hit by a wave of death threats, online harassment, and negative and untruthful reviews on Yelp. Continue reading