A San Francisco restaurant issued an apology Sunday after its staff refused to serve armed police officers.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Kristina Liedags Compton and Rachel Sillcocks, co-owners of North Beach restaurant Hilda and Jesse apologized, after three uniformed officers with the San Francisco Police Department were asked to leave the establishment Friday morning.
"We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," the owners said in a statement. "We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times. We hope this will be a teachable moment for us as we repair and continue to build bridges with the SFPD."
The restaurant owners added that these are stressful times and they handled the situation badly.
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Online reviewers voiced their disappointment by giving the restaurant 1-star reviews on several websites including Yelp.
In an earlier Instagram post, Compton and Sillcocks called their restaurant a “safe space" and the presence of the officers’ weapons made their staff “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 restaurant said in a statement released Saturday.
The business added the incident was not a political statement, stating it did what it thought was best for its staff.
Hilda and Jesse’s decision to ask the officers to leave comes as San Francisco continues to deal with a rise in crime.
NBC Bay Area’s Sergio Quintana spoke to several residents including Kerry about what they thought of the incident.
“I'm also at a place of privilege where I can ask for help and it happens. So I've never felt that way. But for other people, they might,” she said.
NBC Bay Area learned Saturday that the restaurant’s owners met with officers at SFPD's central station earlier in the day to discuss what had happened.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association issued the following statement:
“Three foot-beat officers looking to eat where they patrol are treated without any tact or class by this establishment. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurants that don't discriminate and will welcome our officers working to try and keep all San Franciscans safe.”
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott also released the following statement on his Twitter page:
"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."