On October 19, 2013, Officer Jeffrey Fletcher of the New Haven Police Department stepped into a local Starbucks on the corner of Chapel and Church Streets. Fletcher needed to use the bathroom so he asked the barista for the key. He said he had to ask three times until the barista gave him a response. “She looked at me and said "I’m sorry. I don’t have the key." And at that point, I said to her, "where is it?" She said "it’s in the safe” said Fletcher. Fletcher said he went to a business next door to use the bathroom instead. When Fletcher went back to meet his colleagues, one of them asked why did he not use the bathroom inside Starbucks. “He looked at me and said "BS that’s really strange." The colleague then stated, “the barista gave this white guy the key to the bathroom just before we had noticed you were not in the store." While he felt humiliated and angered, Fletcher said he confronted the barista and said she ignored him and walked away. “I can’t believe this was happening,” added Fletcher.
Fletcher said he was too upset to reunite with his colleagues and instead went out to his patrol car. He Googled, "Starbucks Complaint Line", and told his story over the phone. The person on the phone assigned Fletcher an initial case number for his complaint (12633126) and subsequently another case number was assigned (180115-205265). Fletcher said he followed up on his complaint only to be told by the Starbucks investigator that "there was no one who was a white female fitting my complaint, who was working on the time and date of the incident."
Fletcher stated soon after being told by the Starbucks investigator that there was not a white female involved in the issue but instead it was a bi-racial female. Fletcher stated he decided to retain the services of an attorney. It was after that the company immediately admitted the barista did work there, but she quit when confronted by management about the incident.
Starbucks later sent Fletcher a non-disclosure agreement which claimed that “as a goodwill gesture, we will compensate you $3000.00 to settle this matter.”
*(See Official Federal Court and Starbucks Documents below)
“This is not about the money. It’s not about the dollars. It’s about acknowledging the wrong and how do we move forward to not let this happen again?” added Fletcher.
Fletcher later chose to dismiss the lawsuit due to his witness experiencing familial problems. Fletcher stated he did not want to burden his colleague with the stress of having to testify.
The artifacts and memorabilia Jeffrey Fletcher has collected, serves as a constant reminder of how history repeats itself especially with regard to the Starbucks Coffee Shop bathroom incident in 2013.
“I will do this until I can’t anymore. This is the image of America.”