Hamilton

Mulberry cancels Coffee with a Cop event, wants to be a 'safe space' for customers

Hamilton's Mulberry Coffeehouse has canceled its upcoming Coffee with a Cop event, citing its desire to continue being a "safe space."

Police say not having 'difficult conversations' leads to missed opportunities for change

The Mulberry Street Coffeehouse has cancelled its upcoming Coffee with a Cop event. (Hamilton Police Service)

Hamilton's Mulberry Street Coffeehouse has canceled its upcoming Coffee with a Cop event, citing its desire to continue being a "safe space."

Police say while they respect the café's decision, not hosting the event is a missed opportunity to break down barriers.

In a short post to Facebook published on May 3 the popular, downtown coffeeshop stated that due to "community response" it would no longer be hosting the event, which was scheduled to take place from 3-5 p.m. on May 14.

"Mulberry wants to continue to be a safe space. We know that this takes work and we are still learning," the post read. "Thank you for calling us in and holding us accountable for our actions."

The owner of the café did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A page on the police service's website explaining the event said Coffee with a Cop meetups are held in cities across North America to offer a "dialogue without agendas and speeches [by] simply allowing a conversation to take place."

The one set to take place at Mulberry would have been the fourth time the event, which gives people a chance to sit down for a chat with a uniformed officer, was held in Hamilton.

Deputy Chief says he respects decision

Hamilton Deputy Police Chief Frank Bergen said the service intends to continue working with the community through programs like Coffee with a Cop, he added.

"When difficult conversations don't occur there are missed opportunities for better understanding and change. We are committed [to] getting to know our community to reinforce understanding and build partnerships," he said. 

"Our officers are part of the fabric of our community. It is important that we work together."

News of the cancellation sparked plenty of discussion online, with hundreds of people commenting below the Mulberry's message.

Some argued saying 'No' to the event meant shutting down a chance for police to foster relationships in the community, while others cheered Mulberry for its decision, saying events like Coffee with a Cop make people from marginalized communities feel uncomfortable.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now