A coffee shop in California has jump-started a national discussion over its refusal to serve police due to ridiculous perceptions the officers’ presence might threaten owners “physical and emotional safety.”

That’s fine. Let it be. Just so long as other coffee shop owners around the nation have the right to refuse service to, say, Black Lives Matter T-shirt wearers. Or, to gay couples seeking wedding cakes.

After all, if it’s free market and individual choice for coffee shop owners and police, it’s free market and individual choice all around, right? What’s good for the goose is surely good for the gander.

The backstory is this: The proprietors of Hasta Muerte Coffee in Oakland, who operate as a worker-owned collective and who display a mural that’s critical of police militarization and police shootings, told a Latino police sergeant last week that he wasn’t welcome at their shop. Police union officials responded by writing a letter to the shop, denouncing the decision.

But coffee peeps dug in deeper on Instagram, saying it was a safety issue — that police made them feel unsafe.

“We know in our experience working on campaigns against police brutality that we are not alone [in] saying that police presence compromises our feelings of physical & emotional safety,” shop owners wrote, the Daily Caller noted. “The facts are that [people of color], 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.”

The police department, for its part, said OK — that its policy, at least informally, would be for officers to steer clear of the shop and find coffee elsewhere.

Great. Now let the left behave similarly when one of their own is similarly told to go elsewhere for service. Leave, peacefully, find another shop, or store, or bakery — and leave the lawyers out of it.

Individual rights to decide swing both ways, left and right, Democrat and Republican.

Of course, in the case of California’s coffee shop, the public may have the final word.

As the Daily Caller noted, one Oakland resident said this, of the shop’s booting of police: “I don’t think it’s fair — they should [serve cops]. [Cops are] protecting them. If somebody breaks in there, who are they gonna call? The police.”

Exactly. And what’s more — these same police will no doubt respond.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

© Copyright (c) 2018 News World Communications, Inc.

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