EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco restaurant owner explains why police officers denied service

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A trendy San Francisco restaurant is explaining its decision to turn away and deny service to three on-duty police officers.

The move has touched off a social media firestorm, and one of the owners is explaining the restaurant's decision in an exclusive interview with ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott is also reacting to the controversy.

Staff at North Beach brunch spot Hilda and Jesse on Union St. 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 said the decision to turn the officers away had nothing to do with who they were, but over the fact that the officers were armed.

"It's not about the fact that we are anti-police," she said in an exclusive interview with ABC7 News. "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 ABC7 News to clarify false narratives on social media about why the officers were asked to leave.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott is also responding 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," Chief 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."

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