The incident occurred last week in Oklahoma in the US when an unnamed officer visited the coffee chain to pick up orders for a number of other cops who were working on the holiday.
But when he collected his purchase, a customer pointed out the word “pig” had been printed on a drink label.
The officer told police chief Johnny O’Mara, who shared a picture of the offensive slur on a Facebook post which went viral and has since been taken down.
“So … one of my on-duty officers decides to do something nice for our dispatchers,” the post began.
“It’s Thanksgiving Day; our dispatchers are underappreciated as it is. My officer goes to Starbucks to get the dispatchers coffee as a thank you for all they do (especially when they’re working a holiday.) This is what he gets for being nice.
“What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town. This cup of coffee for a ‘pig’ is just another little flag.
”It’s another tiny pinprick into the heart of men and women who are asking themselves more often: ‘Why am I doing this?’ Just pour the coffee, please. Are we at a point where a task as simple as pouring an exceptionally overpriced cup of coffee is so complicated that it cannot be accomplished without ‘expressing oneself’?”
Mr O’Mara continued, explaining he called the store to complain, only to be told they would be happy to “replace the coffee with a correct label”.
“Thank you, first responders, for risking it all this Thanksgiving away from your families,” he wrote.
“If you’re looking for coffee use a place where you pour your own and you’re certain of what’s in it). Stay safe; go home.”
The post sparked widespread outrage among the public who were quick to slam the employee for disrespecting officers.
On Friday, Starbucks and Kiefer Police Department issued a joint statement explaining they will “work together in coming days to promote greater civility and understanding”.
“Starbucks and the Kiefer Police Department are committed to using this regrettable incident as an opportunity to leverage our shared platforms to promote greater civility,” the statement reads.
“In the coming days, Starbucks will be meeting with the Kiefer Police Department to begin discussing ways to work together, including a jointly hosted Coffee with a Cop event at Starbucks where local law enforcement can meet with baristas and members of the community to discuss the critical role dispatchers and police offers play in keeping our communities safe. “Together with law enforcement agencies, Starbucks will jointly look for educational opportunities for our partners across the United States to promote better understanding and respect.”
Then, later that day, a Starbucks spokesperson also released an updated statement confirming the employee responsible for the scandal had been fired.
“This is absolutely unacceptable, and we are deeply sorry to the law enforcement officer who experienced this. We have also apologised directly to him and connected with the Chief of the Kiefer Police Department as well to express our remorse,” the statement reads.
“The Starbucks partner who wrote this offensive word on a cup used poor judgment and is no longer a partner after this violation of company policy.
“This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
But in a fresh twist, a young woman claiming to be Mr O’Mara’s daughter has also weighed in, attacking him on Twitter.
this is my father and i’d like to say that he is absolutely a pig and i’d like to thank the brave men and women from starbucks for their service https://t.co/e7NhPMacHM
“This is my father and I’d like to say that he is absolutely a pig and I’d like to thank the brave men and women from Starbucks for their service,” the woman, whose Twitter handle is @MissOMara, posted.
She followed it up by claiming her father had “0 business being a police officer” and also alleged he was “racist” and sexist.
“I haven’t seen my father in years lol this is awkward I hope he sees it tho (sic).”
The Starbucks scandal is just the latest in a string of abuse aimed at restaurant customers across the world in recent weeks.
In November, UK man Karl Cooper was stunned after picking up his KFC order – only to find the word “sh**face” had been plastered on two separate pots of gravy.
Mr Cooper eventually messaged KFC privately on Facebook, sharing a photo of the offending gravy.
“Just been to one of your restaurants and I’m very offended by this,” he wrote.
However, he was unimpressed by the fast-food chain’s apology and offer of a mere £10 ($A18.78) voucher in compensation.
And days earlier, New Zealand mother Kimberly Sze also received a similar slur on a receipt from her favourite cafe, Coffee Supreme on Christchurch’s Welles St.
She took to Facebook to complain she had double checked her bill and been stunned to find she had allegedly been overcharged, and that her daughter had also been insulted with the words “Fam w (sic) the terrifying kid” printed at the top of the document.
“Hey Coffee Supreme NZ you might want to train your staff at Coffee Supreme Welles Street a little better. Writing “family with the terrifying kid” on our ticket AND intentionally overcharging us … nice one,” she posted.
“We come almost every weekend and my daughter is nothing but polite and friendly and we’ve never left a mess.
“She’s never been a terror, never had a meltdown, never caused any problems and the same people working today always comment on how cute and sweet she is, so what the actual f?”
Ms Sze later updated her post to say she had met with Coffee Supreme’s food and beverage manager Tim Norriss and accepted his apology and refund.