Starbucks found itself under fire this weekend 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.
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.
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.
But social media quickly called the coffee chain out for an inadequate response.
Starbucks issued an apology Saturday afternoon:
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
This latest statement still falls short, given how this situation could have quickly escalated between the police and the two innocent young men.
We’ve seen countless videos of law-abiding Black men and women placed in chokeholds, gunned down and tasered. Starbucks needs to understand that they need to play a role in exploring why this situation occurred at their store and join the community in holding police officers accountable for racial profiling.