It was a simple 911 call that lasted only seconds, but it launched nationwide backlash against Starbucks.
Police have released the 911 call that led to the arrest of two Philadelphia Black men, who were sitting in a Starbucks waiting for a friend, CNN reports.
“Hi, I have two gentlemen at my café that are refusing to make a purchase or leave. I’m at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce,” says the recording.
It doesn’t mention who made the actual call, but the manager on duty, reportedly Holly Hylton, parted ways with the coffee company.
Police were dispatched to the Philly Starbucks and in a video that has gone viral, two young Black men – one identified as Rashon Nelson a member of the fraternity Omega Psi Phi – were arrested without incident.
The regal way the men handled the arrest simply following the police’s orders and quietly exiting the facility and avoiding a major confrontation that could have ended in a deadly way — has been praised by many including outspoken activist Killer Mike who said the men’s actions should be congratulated.
“…the Black men [in Starbucks] need to be congratulated and saluted. [They] showed themselves dignified, regal in that arrest. They actually kept the situation calm by not raising voice, by not hiding hands,” Mike said to MSNBC anchor Joy Ann Reid.
Racial Bias Education
It has now been announced that, “Starbucks says it will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”
At first, the coffee chain seemed dismissive and unmoved by the public outcry and issued an apology that was so watered down you could almost feel the apathy of whatever intern they got to draft it up.
And even during his appearance on Good Morning America Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson refused to admit that the incident caught on the now infamous customer footage was racially motivated.
But now the chief executive has changed his tune, called for “unconscious bias” training for Starbucks store managers, and is deeply sorry for the “reprehensible” circumstances that led to the arrest of the two men at a store in Philadelphia’s Center City district Thursday.
“I will fix this,” Johnson said in a video message.