The Chief Executive of Starbucks has been forced to issue a public apology after a shocking incident of astounding racism and bigotry was caught on video at a Philadelphia Starbucks location. The video was posted to Twitter and has since gone viral forcing Starbucks to look into the matter or face even further backlash.
The video was posted by a woman that was also sitting in the shop at the same time. It shows police speaking to and then arresting two black men. The woman known as author Melissa DePino, states they were simply sitting in the Starbucks waiting for a third member of their trio to join them before ordering coffee as a group.
DePino stated in her tweet -“
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.”
She described how both men were simply sitting at the table talking to one another for less than 15 minutes before store employees called the cops. Both men left the store peacefully under their own power but in handcuffs, all for the crime of simply waiting on a friend at a table. The friend in question that the two men were waiting on showed up about the same time as the police did.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
The duo was released from police custody hours later at around 1:30 A.M. EST. Both men worked as real estate brokers and were at the Starbucks for a friendly meeting with the friend in question over a real estate project. DePino’s accounting of the events that transpired was corroborated by other witnesses present inside the Starbucks during the events in question.
Kant Khatri witnessed the events, as well as the arrest, stated – “Six or seven of us went outside and were asking the police officers why are they doing this. They eventually took the two away.”
Lauren Wimmer, an attorney for the men, declined to identify the men by name but stated – “The video, in this case, essentially speaks for itself. These guys were doing what people do every day, they were having a meeting and they were undoubtedly singled out because of their race.” People inside the Starbucks at the time also thought the men were being singled out because of their race, so some stepped in to try to help.”
CBS Philadelphia reported on the response from the Philadelphia Police Commissioner stating “Richard Ross defended his officers’ decision to arrest the men. Ross said Starbucks employees called the police to say the men were trespassing. He said they came in to use the restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything.
Ross, who is black, said police asked the men to leave three times but they refused. Ross said his officers ‘did absolutely nothing wrong.’
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Saturday he was “heartbroken” to see the city in the headlines for an incident that appears at this point ‘to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.’
Kenney says he’s asked the Commission on Human Relations to examine the company’s policies and procedures ‘including the extent of, or need for, implicit bias training for its employees.'”
We’re reviewing the incident with our partners, law enforcement and customers to determine what took place and led to this unfortunate result.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
Initially, Starbucks responded to DePino’s video by saying they were “investigating” the incident. However, that investigation led to a full statement released late Saturday where Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson expressed his “deepest apologies” for the incident, stating –
“I’m writing this evening to convey three things:
First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.
In the coming days, I will be joining our regional vice president, Camille Hymes—who is on the ground in Philadelphia—to speak with partners, customers and community leaders as well as law enforcement. Most importantly, I hope to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.”
The backlash has been swift and immediate. Protesters are now swarming the restaurant and planning a boycott of the Seattle coffee chain. The hashtag #BoycottStarbucks is now trending on social media where many others are expressing their disgust and contempt for what many people view as perfectly ordinary behavior that is being defended by the City Commissioner.
What’s to review! Starbucks is seeing what right in front of them! Racism!
To men sitting waiting for a friend before they order. But white customers sitting there surfing the web all day is not a issue!
Starbucks you need to do better then just saying your reviewing the video!
— stephano sammartino (@stefono) April 15, 2018
One user tweeted – “What’s to review! Starbucks is seeing what right in front of them! Racism! To men sitting waiting for a friend before they order. But white customers sitting there surfing the web all day is not a issue! Starbucks you need to do better then just saying your reviewing the video!”
Another stated – “So, according to the police commissioner in Philadelphia, I could call 911 and ask to arrest 2 young black gentlemen for having used the bathroom and they would just execute the arrest warrant? “Yes, we can”. America has failed its own people ”
So, according to the police commissioner in Philadelphia, I could call 911 and ask to arrest 2 young black gentlemen for having used the bathroom and they would just execute the arrest warrant? "Yes, we can". America has failed its own people 😥
— Providence Salumu (@slumshaddy) April 15, 2018