Video of two Black men being arrested for sitting at Starbucks sparks calls for boycott
Starbucks has some explaining to do after video surfaced on social media showing Philadelphia police officers arresting two Black men.
According to social media accounts, the two men were waiting in the Starbucks for a friend when a barista called the cops.
“What did they do,” one man can be heard saying in a video captured by Melissa DePino.
“They didn’t do anything, I saw the entire thing,” another person said.
Just as the friend of the two men arrived, the men were put in handcuffs and arrested by police.
Police have not said why they were arrested.
@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
In the video confused white patrons appear to wonder why this type of thing never happens to them when they are in Starbucks.
Um, it’s called racism. Welcome to our world.
Philly.com shared a second video, apparently taken minutes earlier and leading up to the arrest, that shows a group of Philadelphia Police officers speaking to two young men.
Alan Yaffe, a white man, enters the frame and questions why the police are standing over the men. One officer says they are “trespassing,” and adds they had been asked to leave.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe asks, adding that the men were waiting for him. “I wanted to get coffee for two black guys sitting and meeting with me,” he tells the officer. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous?” he asks other patrons in the shop. A woman agrees. “It’s absolute discrimination,” Yaffe adds. He says he and the men can go elsewhere to meet. An officer says it’s too late for that, because the two sitting men had previously declined to leave. The video ends as the officers arrest the men and leading them out of the coffee shop.
The backlash on social media was swift with people calling for the coffee chain to address this incident using the hashtag #boycottstarbucks.
— patrisse cullors (@OsopePatrisse) April 14, 2018
We know what happened. It was a gross double standard rooted in racism. What we need is an apology followed by restitution. We need you to proactively make this right by the two young men you violated. https://t.co/enIbgtzGrK
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 14, 2018
Why did your barista call the cops on two black men sitting peacefully in a Philly @Starbucks waiting for a friend? The cops handcuffed and detained both men. I won’t spend a dime for your coffee till you apologize to those men. Make this right #BoycottStarbucks https://t.co/CvuBMYgJwY
— Rosemarie Robotham (@rarobotham) April 14, 2018
Starbucks posted a message on social media in response:
We’re reviewing the incident with our partners, law enforcement and customers to determine what took place and led to this unfortunate result.
Nah, we’re going to need more than this, Starbucks.
According to CBS Philly, the Philadelphia Police Department says an internal investigation is underway following the arrest on Thursday.
On Friday, the police issued a statement.
“The entire incident, including the actions of the responding officers, is under internal investigation. Once we gather all the facts, we will comment further.”
According to ABC6 Philadelphia, a witness reported that the incident began after the men asked to use the bathroom and were told that it was only available for paying customers.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross later confirmed.
After the men had been “quietly hanging out, chatting and waiting for their friend,” she said officers entered the restaurant and asked the two men to leave, saying that they would be trespassing if they did not leave.
“The two young men politely asked why they were being told to leave and were not given a reason other than the manager wanted them to leave,” she told ABC in an email.
The witness also reportedly said another woman was given the bathroom code without having to buy anything.
Watch whiteness work.