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NYPD Sergeant Sues Starbucks Over Assault at Midtown Location

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He says he repeatedly warned the store to change its practices

Starbucks Holiday Cup Causes Online Controversy Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A New York Police Department sergeant is suing Starbucks after getting assaulted by a homeless man at the 39th Street and Eighth Avenue location last year — another result of Starbucks’ vague policies for non-paying customers that’s been under fire since the Philly arrest.

In this case, on September 18, sergeant Timothy Wall responded to an incident at the store in which a 24-year-old homeless man was loudly complaining about the croissant the store gave him, the Post reports. The man reportedly shoved Wall into a wall and dislocated his shoulder. Wall is now suing for damages, which included needing surgery to fix the injury.

In years leading up to the incident, Wall says he and other police officers allegedly repeatedly warned that location to stop handing out food to homeless people, advising the store to instead donate to food banks or set up a distribution center off site. But the store ignored the advice and police had to be called to the store 80 times in 2017 involving homeless disturbances, he says.

Starbucks is taking a different tack though, reportedly filing response papers that say the injuries are through Wall’s own “culpable conduct ... and assumption of risk.” A spokesperson tells the Post that, “The food donation program described in the complaint does not exist.”

This is just the latest bad headline for Starbucks, which drew ire this month for an incident in which two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store for no good reason. Since then, reports have come out showing that each individual store can generally choose its own policy on responses to non-paying customers in the shop — something that partly led to the Philly controversy. CEO Howard Schultz said he was “ashamed” of the arrests and will close 8,000 stores on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29 for a “racial bias education day.”

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