Protesters gathered outside a Philadelphia Starbucks on Sunday and planned to regroup again on today after two black men were arrested there last week when they allegedly refused to leave.
The original incident occurred last Thursday, when a Starbucks employee called 911 because two black men were sitting inside the café. Soon after they arrived, police handcuffed the men and escorted them out of the shop. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is black, said the men hadn’t purchased anything and refused to leave, which led to the arrest. Yet a protesting white women said, she’s walks in all the time to use the restroom without purchasing anything and was never arrested.
A video of the arrest and ensuing confusion went viral on Twitter.
After the two men were refused the bathroom, they just sat at a table silently and played with their phones as they waited for a friend, Saahene told NBC News.
“The cops were asking them to leave because they weren’t purchasing anything,” Saahene said. “[The two men] said they were confused. This is a Starbucks. Since when are people asked to leave a Starbucks who are just sitting there?”
Saahene said that a white man sitting next to her had been at the Starbucks for 30 minutes without making a purchase and a jogger came in and used the bathroom without making a purchase.
“’Did you feel threatened’?” she said she asked the Starbucks barista. “She didn’t look at me. ‘Did you feel like your life was threatened?’ She still didn’t look at me.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson swiftly apologized that the 911 call was made and that the two men were arrested. He said that the company planned to investigate the matter and retrain its staff, but said the store manager “never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
Unfortunately it’s too late! We’re sounding the call to boycott “StarBucks” everywhere.!!