In part of a hopefully rising trend, five police officers were denied service at a Taco Bell in Louisville, Kentucky recently. The owner has since apologized and promised that the employees will be retrained to be more respectful to all customers, including law enforcement. But this is just one domino in an entire series of worker rebellions against cops. As movements against police militarization and systematic racism gain traction across the political spectrum, general distrust of the police is becoming more confrontational.
Just this past February in Irondale, Alabama, one of the armed fascists attempted to buy food at a Krystal drive thru but was completely ignored. After about 10 minutes, “the officer went inside to order. But the police chief says the workers who were inside walked away.” Another Taco Bell in Phenix City, Alabama made the news after a woman in Auburn posted that a local deputy had been told that they, “don’t serve cops.” One of the employees was fired after two more deputies were denied service in July. That same month at a Sunoco service station in Miramar, Florida, a pig pulled up with one of his kidnapping victims chained up in the back seat. Instead of ringing the officer, the clerk questioned him as to why he had arrested “his boy.” When the kidnapper refused to explain himself, the cashier turned him away stating, “you know why.” A group of officers at a Dallas-based Genghis Grill were told that they couldn’t eat there because they might frighten other customers, for which the manager apologized. And in a more hilarious display, a cook at a Virginia-based Noodles & Co. exclaimed, “You better pull me off the line, because I’m not serving that,” resulting in the pig she was motioning at leaving in a huff.
And then there’s the even bolder employees who make cops feel unwelcome through more controversial methods such as spiking officers’ meals with extra spicy hot sauce or the employees who allegedly put glass in a cop’s sandwich sending him to the hospital. And while those actions may be questionable, they are but more examples of the general resentment of cops among wage workers. There’s even the surprising story of the actual owner at Lucky’s Teriyaki in Sedro-Woolley, Washington who not only informed two officers and their Chief Deputy that they were not allowed to eat there anymore, saying that their customers didn’t like law enforcement there, but also told them to spread the word that any and all law enforcement officials are no longer welcome.
But such business owners are in the minority. Most strive for good relations with the local departments both out of fear of rocking the boat and out of a perceived need for their protection in case of a robbery or other incident. “Disrespectful” employees are fired or disciplined, public apologies are made, and Blue Lives Matter messages plaster business windows in a logic-bending attempt to compare the refusal to service the armed enforcers of the state with racial bigotry. Police departments and their supporters are labeling such practices discrimination.
Luckily for us, police are not listed in any non-discrimination act in the nation, unlike actually marginalized communities systematically discriminated against by class, race, gender identity, religion, ability, or sexuality. Libertarians question the effectiveness of state non-discrimination acts in their ability to achieve admittedly sympathetic goals, and also raise possible unintended consequences of them, such as the hypothetical scenario of the Jewish baker forced to bake a Nazi cake. So it ought not be a question whether libertarians should stand up for the right of any business to refuse service to the boys and girls in blue. Hell, as Red and Black Cafe shows, it’s our duty as anarchists to keep the police out of our businesses. We should encourage this behavior and engage in it ourselves where possible.
On a personal note, I have only been so daring as to spit in a cop’s milkshake when I was forced to serve one at a Dairy Queen back in my rebellious teenage years. It wasn’t very practical or effective, but today’s rebel-workers inspire me to strive to do more in making the police feel unwelcome in my community.
And while some may continue to compare the ostracization of these armed terrorists to forms of bigotry and discrimination, others will simply point out that most businesses do not allow animals. And while many pigs will claim that they are service animals, obviously these employees and many more seriously beg to differ about the usefulness of the so-called “services” they provide.
The Center for a Stateless Society (www.c4ss.org) is a media center working to build awareness of the market anarchist alternative