Ron Todt / AP
Protesters gathered Sunday in front of a Starbucks in Philadelphia, where police arrested two black men on Thursday, accusing them of racial discrimination.
The demonstration began around noon outside the City Center Starbucks, with protesters carrying megaphones and signs saying "Too Little Latte" and "# Enough of Shame on their Starbucks." Some users of social networks have started using the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks in messages about the arrest.
On Saturday, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a statement offering "our deepest apologies" to the two men who were handcuffed and taken out of the cafe by police last week. Johnson also stated that the company "intends to do everything possible to fix things" and said he expected "to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology."
Police say that Starbucks employees called 911 alleging riots and raids by two customers. When the police arrived, two Starbucks employees told them that two men had asked to use the bathroom, but they were told they could not because they had not bought anything. The men allegedly refused to leave after being asked by Starbucks employees. Police also say that the two men refused to leave after three officers asked him three times to arrest them.
Starbucks customers recorded the arrest on their cell phones, and on a video posted on social media, a man named Andrew Yaffe, who is white, says he is there to meet with both handcuffed For the police. "What did they call them for, because there are two black guys sitting here meeting with me? … What did they do?"
"They did not do anything," replies a woman in the video, "I saw everything."
@Starbucks They called the police because these men had not ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to appear, which they did while being taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other whites wonder why it has never happened to us when we do the same. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
– Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
Police arrested the men and took them to a police station where they were taken fingerprints and they were photographed. The men were released almost eight hours later, and no charges were ever filed. His attorney, Lauren Wimmer, told The Washington Post that the district attorney did not find evidence of a crime, adding that the Starbucks manager where the arrests occurred was white.
Melissa DePino, who recorded the video that went viral on social media, accumulating more than 9 million hits, described the arrest of Philadelphia magazine, "These guys never raised their voices, they never did anything remotely aggressive. He was sitting near where they were, very close, they were not doing anything, they were not. "
Starbucks says the video is "very difficult to see", that the company "strongly opposes" racial profiling, and is investigating the incident. "Unfortunately, our practices and training led to a bad result: the basis of the call to the Philadelphia Police Department was incorrect," Johnson said, "our store manager never intended to arrest these men and this should never have happened. have intensified since he did. " Starbucks will hold a company-wide meeting this week to discuss the next steps, and "will underscore our long-standing commitment to treat each other with respect and dignity." Philadelphia police say they are also conducting an internal investigation.
In a statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney criticized Starbucks for his role in the arrests and says he is "disconsolate to see Philadelphia in the headlines for an incident that, at least, as far as we know at this point , seems to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018. "
He asked the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to determine if Starbucks needs training for implicit biases or unconscious discrimination that could affect the judgments and actions of its employees. Kenney said: "Starbucks should be a place where everyone is treated equally, regardless of the color of their skin."