Mulberry cancels Coffee with a Cop event, wants to be a 'safe space' for customers
Police say not having 'difficult conversations' leads to missed opportunities for change
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.
Shouldn't we be teaching our children that Police officers are helpers? That they are safe people that will help in an emergency? Doesn't that start with the way the adults behave with them?—@kristinemathes1
It might, at the cost of putting vulnerable people in front of police, a trade-off that isn’t worth it. The problem isn’t that these people *feel* the police are harmful and dangerous to them, it’s that police *are* harmful and dangerous to them.—@craig_burley
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.