Armed Police Officers Made Restaurant Staff 'Uncomfortable,' Denied Service

Three police officers were denied service at a San Francisco restaurant because staff "felt uncomfortable" that they were armed.

"Three armed and uniformed San Francisco police officers came in to dine at Hilda and Jesse" on Union Street on Friday, the restaurant said in a post on its Instagram page.

"Shortly after seating them, our staff felt uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons. We then politely asked them to leave."

The move prompted a backlash on social media, leading Rachel Sillcocks, the restaurant's co-owner and chef, to speak to ABC7 to clarify that the decision to turn the officers away was only because they were armed.

"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," Sillcocks told the station.

"It is about the fact that we do not allow weapons in our restaurant. We were uncomfortable, and we asked them to leave. It has nothing to do that they were officers. It has everything to do that they were carrying guns."

Sillcocks added that the officers were welcome to return to the restaurant, as long as they came without their weapons.

On Instagram, the restaurant said it was a "safe space."

The post added: "The presence of the officers weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable. We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do. We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform, and without their weapons."

The caption added: "This is not a political statement, we did what we thought was best for our staff."

The incident prompted outcry on social media and a Twitter thread from SFPD Chief William Scott.

"Community engagement is a core principle of SFPD's 21st century police reforms, and we are intentional about asking our officers to support local businesses and get to know those they're sworn to safeguard," Scott said in a tweet sharing the restaurant's response.

In further tweets, Scott added: "The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety with respect, even when it means respecting wishes that our officers and I find discouraging and personally disappointing.

"I believe the vast majority of San Franciscans welcome their police officers, who deserve to know that they are appreciated for the difficult job we ask them to do—in their uniforms—to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe."

Hilda and Jesse and the San Francisco Police Department have been contacted for additional comment.

San Francisco police
Police put together barricades in anticipation of a protest in San Francisco, California on January 11, 2021. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images