Home / U.S. / Starbucks, police and mayor respond to the controversial arrest of 2 black men in Philadelphia: the two-way: NPR

Starbucks, police and mayor respond to the controversial arrest of 2 black men in Philadelphia: the two-way: NPR

Starbucks issued an apology on Twitter after Starbucks employees called the police on two black men allegedly entering a Philadelphia store.


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Starbucks issued an apology on Twitter after Starbucks employees called the police to two black men they were allegedly trespassing in a Philadelphia store.


A video that now amassed nearly 7 million hits on Twitter shows police officers handcuffing two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.

The spectators in the background are incredulous.

"What did they do?" a man asks.

"They did nothing," replies a woman. "I saw everything."

In a video statement streamed on Facebook Live from the website of the Police Department of Philadelphia, Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed that on Thursday afternoon at 4:40 pm, the Philadelphia police received a call to 911 of 18 th and Spruce Streets alleging riots and burglary.

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. Ross also said that the two men refused to leave after the police officers asked them three times.

So, Ross says, the officers arrested the men. The attorney for the two men, Lauren Wimmer, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she received news that the two were being released from custody at 12:30 a.m. Friday, almost eight hours after the initial 911 call. Ross confirmed that the officers released the men from custody after they discovered that Starbucks was not planning to prosecute them.

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

"[The police officers] followed the policy, they did what they were supposed to do, they were professionals in all their dealings with these gentlemen and, on the other hand, they got the opposite, I will say that as an African-American man., I am very aware of the implicit prejudices, we commit to a fair and impartial police action and nothing inferior to that in this department will be tolerated. "

Ross said all the commanders in his department they receive implicit training and that all new recruits are sent to both the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Holocaust of the United States. Commemorative Museum in Washington, DC "We want you to know about the atrocities that, in fact, police committed around the world," he says.

A police spokesman told the Inquirer that Philadelphia Police Department's internal affairs unit is investigating the incident.

In a statement published on Saturday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney criticized Starbucks for his role in the arrests:

"I am disconsolate to see Philadelphia in the headlines for an incident that, at least, is based on What we know at this moment – seems to be an example of what racial discrimination is like in 2018. For many, Starbucks is not just a place to buy a cup of coffee, but a place to meet with friends or family, or to do some In our city, Starbucks must be a place where everyone is treated the same, regardless of the color of their skin.

The mayor's statement says Starbucks' apology, which the company issued on his Twitter account the previous Saturday, was not enough. Kenney also says he has asked the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to investigate whether Starbucks employees should be trained with additional implicit biases, and his office has gone directly to Starbucks to discuss the matter.

on criminal justice, vigilance and incarceration in Philadelphia:

"Commissioner Ross and his team have promised a review of their policies to advance the response to complaints like this, and I believe that a thorough review is fully justified given the unfortunate outcome of this event, particularly at a time when our criminal justice reform efforts are focused on avoiding unnecessary imprisonment. "

The Kenney Reforms alludes to having much to do with the new progressive district attorney Lawrence Krasner. WHYY Bobby Allyn recently reported on Krasner's change in Philadelphia:

Krasner is a former civil rights lawyer who took office on a platform of radical reform of the city's attorney's office by opposing the death penalty, moving away of cash money bail and seek shorter prison terms for criminals.

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