Arrests of Two Black Men at Philadelphia Starbucks Called 'Racist'

Starbucks arrest in Philadelphia

Starbucks Apologises To Black Men Wrongly Accused Of Trespassing

"In DePino's tweet and attached video, she used the Starbucks "@Starbucks" handle to put the company on notice that the two men who "hadn't ordered anything" while waiting for a friend to arrive were arrested "for doing nothing".

According to a new interview at The Root with Melissa DePino, a regular customer at that Starbucks whose recording of the arrests went viral, the employee who demanded the men leave was white.

Later that night, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued another apology, saying the company is investigating and will make any necessary changes to their practices. "Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling", he said.

An employee called the police for help to get the men out of the store but later regretted that it escalated into an arrest, said a company official familiar with the incident, who declined to give a name to freely describe internal discussions. "We don't care", according to Ross's retelling of the police officers' account.

At the end of the video, a white man identified as real estate investor Alan Yaffe can be seen telling police he was meeting the two men and calling their arrest "ridiculous".

If the men meant to make a purchase but were just waiting for their friend to order, then - at the least - it was rather inconsiderate for the Starbucks employees to make them wait to use the bathroom until a purchase had been made.

"We are committed to fair and unbiased policing and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department".

The two men were arrested by police after employees of the Starbucks called to report a trespassing. "They did a service that they were called to do", said Police Commissioner Richard Ross.


The two men were taken to a police station, where they were fingerprinted and photographed, their attorney Lauren Wimmer told The Washington Post on Saturday. "I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology", his statement reads. Drummer Questlove of the group Roots tweeted a question: "Waiting in a Starbucks while black is a crime?"

He said he'll be joining Philadelphia's regional Starbucks manager in the coming days. He also said Starbucks will work with outside experts and community leaders to adopt best practices and train its employees how to better deal with situations when police are needed.

"The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values", he said in the statement.

Mayor Kenney directed the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to review Starbucks policies and determine whether the company would benefit from training for implicit bias - unconscious discrimination based on race.

In his statement, Ross said he believed the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong".

Multiple Twitter users who saw the original incident and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney were quick to point out that people often use Starbucks as "not just a place to buy a cup of coffee, but a place to meet up with friends or family members".

Starbucks said such a review was already underway. Last year, the company vowed to hire 10,000 refugees in a move that drew calls for a boycott mostly from conservatives. "They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen", Ross said. He said the incident underscores the need for more body-worn cameras to present different perspectives of police responses.

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