SAN FRANCISCO -- A trendy San Francisco restaurant faced a social media firestorm after denying service to three on-duty police officers, and now its owner is explaining her reasonings.
Staff at the brunch spot Hilda and Jesse seated the uniformed officers at a table on Friday. According to chef and co-owner Rachel Sillcocks, restaurant staff grew uncomfortable by their presence and asked the officers to leave, which they did.
Sillcocks told our sister station KGO that the decision to turn the officers away had nothing to do with their uniforms, but moreso over the fact that the officers were armed.
"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," she told KGO's Dion Lim in an exclusive interview. "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 said the officers are welcome to come back to the restaurant to dine but without their weapons and staff would be happy to serve them.
"We understand how much the police support and protect the community," she added. "We want to again reiterate the fact that this is about guns being in our space, and we don't allow it."
She agreed to the interview with KGO to clarify what she calls false narratives on social media about why the officers were asked to leave.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott is also reacting to the controversy.
"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," Scott said in a statement. "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."