Starbucks is now apologizing after a viral video showing two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia franchise sparked outrage.
On April 12, the two men were sitting in a Starbucks, waiting on a third friend to show up before ordering. Apparently, one of the men got up and used the bathroom and this sent the manager over the edge. Instead of talking to the two men to find out why they had not yet ordered, the manager called the police, accusing the two men of trespassing. The men peacefully complied with the arrest but other customers were more vocal in questioning the rationale for the men being handcuffed and taken into custody.
One customer, Melissa DePino, captured their arrest on video and posted it to Twitter.
@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
Ironically, the third person showed up at the Starbucks as the two men were being led out in cuffs.
After being processed, the men were released when, according to a statement from Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Starbucks declined to press charges. The District Attorney's office also announced that it declined to press charges due to "lack of evidence."
I'm certain that the fact that the video went viral (it has now been viewed over 2 million times) played no small part in how quickly charges were dropped.
Starbucks issued this apology:
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
Many white commenters on this story have openly questioned why they have been able the same thing and not had an establishment enact the same response on them. This means that Starbucks is receiving heat from customers of all hues.
At minimum, I hope that this manager has been fired and that extra scrutiny will be placed on not only this location but, on Starbucks in general, to make sure that all customers feel welcome. In the meantime, I'll continue making my coffee at home.