Starbucks Protests Grow in Philadelphia

Alicia Cross
April 27, 2018

Starbucks has apologised over a now viral video that purported to show two men being arrested in a Philadelphia store for "not ordering anything".

The news of this incident comes just two days after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks after a store manager called police on them when they didn't order anything.

Two men who were arrested inside a Starbucks store in Philadelphia met with the coffee chain's CEO after their arrests sparked allegations of racial profiling and discrimination, CBS Philadelphia reports. Another patron could be heard attesting that the men had not done anything and that it was unclear why the police were called. "They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing", according to Melissa DePino, who posted the video. She said white customers were "wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing". "It's absolute discrimination." The men were released eight hours afterward, when the district attorney found no evidence of a crime. Later that day, while the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter, Kevin R Johnson, chief executive of Starbucks, released a statement in which he called the situation a "reprehensible outcome".

Protesters took over the Philadelphia Starbucks, vowing to shut it down in light of the incident.

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Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney has also ordered a city commission to review Starbucks' policies "including the extent of, or need for, implicit bias training for its employees". They added that the Starbucks employee called 911 because the men did not leave when asked. One of the men asked to use the restroom, but an employee denied the request saying they had not bought anything.

Police departments across the United States have come under criticism for repeated instances of killing unarmed black men in recent years, which activists blame on racial biases in the criminal justice system.

"I've been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen", he said. He said the officers "did absolutely nothing wrong" and were professional in their conduct toward the individuals but "got the opposite back".

Ward asks the man if he had purchased anything, to which the man said he had not. "Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did", Johnson said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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