Downtown Hamilton café cancels ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event due to ‘community response’

A downtown Hamilton café has cancelled a sit-down event that allows the public to ask uniformed police officers questions face to face. Don Mitchell / Global News

A downtown coffee house known for hosting live events has cancelled an event with Hamilton police due to “community response.”

Hamilton’s Mulberry Street Coffeehouse was to host its “Coffee with a Cop” event on the afternoon of May 14, but in a recent Facebook post nixed the get-together citing it wanted to continue being a “safe space.”

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The James Street North café went on to say in its post the move was triggered by “community response.”

“Mulberry wants to continue to be a safe space. We know that this takes work and we are still learning. Thank you for calling us in and holding us accountable for our actions.”

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Meanwhile, Hamilton police’s crime prevention unit responded in a tweet on the weekend simply saying, “They respect their wishes,” and say they plan to hold the event “at another location in the near future.”

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Glenn deCaire, former Hamilton police chief and current head of security at McMaster University, told Global News Radio 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly that holding these kinds of events is the only way to break down the gap between police and the community.

“People who disagree that they shouldn’t be sitting down with officers because of the system that they represent, what is your recommendation for change?” asked deCaire. “What is the way forward? How can we improve? And if you’re not willing to share that ….  people can complain, but you have to have a solution.”

“You can only get better if you understand the other perspective, and then you can institute positive change in the organization. You can institute positive change in the community.”

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The now-cancelled gathering was to be the fourth for 2019. The force’s website says the Coffee with a Cop session is based on similar encounters “held all over North America,” in which the general public can sit down and ask questions face-to-face with a uniformed officer.


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