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San Francisco restaurant apologizes for denying service to armed, on-duty police officers

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San Francisco — The owners of a restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood apologized Sunday for asking police officers to leave their eatery because the officers' guns made employees uncomfortable.

In a statement posted Sunday on social media, Hilda and Jesse owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton said "these are stressful times and we handled this badly."

Three officers were asked to leave the brunch spot on Friday and the restaurant posted an explanation on its Instagram channel Saturday that read: "The restaurant is a safe space. The presence of the officers' weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable. We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do. We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform and without their weapons."

Outcry soon followed on social media, including a response from San Francisco police chief William Scott, who said his department "stands for safety with respect, even when it means respecting wishes that our officers and I find discouraging and personally disappointing."

The restaurant owners backtracked on Sunday with the apology on Instagram.

"We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant," said Sillcocks and Liedags Compton. "We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times."

The incident drew comments supporting both sides. Some commenters were clearly upset at the incident, calling it discriminatory and pointing out that if there were to be an emergency the officers would be there to help.

"How disrespectful and entitled of the business to treat people who risk their lives to protect us," wrote one poster. "It's a bit heartbreaking actually."

Local resident John Perri agreed. "So bummed this happened in my neighborhood," he posted. "Never had the food at this new restaurant. But it could not possibly be good enough to cover the bad taste this leaves."

Peter Schreyer had a differing viewpoint. "It's her restaurant she can do what she wants," he posted. "Who wants to be eating lunch next to someone with a weapon."

This story originally appeared on CBS San Francisco.

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