On Thursday, a story about two men being arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks went viral online for a very important reason–the two men were doing nothing wrong.
According to reports, two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks location for not ordering anything right away. Reports indicate that both men said they were “waiting for their third friend to arrive” before ordering. The manager of the Starbucks had asked them to leave, but when they did not, she called the police.
According to the video that went viral online, witnesses said the two men did “nothing wrong.” They had used the bathroom in the Starbucks location while waiting for their friend but did not order anything–waiting for their friend to arrive.
@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
According to BuzzFeed, the men arrested were meeting Andrew Yaffe, the white man in the video asking police questions. Yaffe runs a real estate development, investment, and management firm and they were meeting to discuss “potential residential and commercial real estate opportunities in Philadelphia.” Yaffe called his friend and lawyer, Lauren A. Wimmer, who is now representing both men. She said in a tweet:
The video speaks for itself. What took place at the 18th and Spruce #Philly @Starbucks was reprehensible. Two young black men, who were simply waiting to be joined by a friend, were blatantly discriminated against based on their race. Not only is this inexcusable, it’s illegal.
— Lauren A. Wimmer (@LAWimmerESQ) April 14, 2018
Starbucks issued a public statement on their Twitter account saying:
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
Police Commissioner Richard Ross, however, supported the arrests and claimed his men did “nothing wrong.”
Starbucks said that according to their company policy, they do not allow non-payingg members of the public to come in and use the restroom. Police asked the men to leave the Starbucks three times, he added, and they were arrested when they refused to do so.
Police had legal standing to make this arrest. In short, these officers did absolutely nothing wrong.”
I will say that as an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias. We are committed to fair, unbiased policing, and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department.”
Twitter, however, has begun a campaign to boycott Starbucks after the manager thought it was appropriate to call the police and have them arrested. It’s true that many of us go to coffee shops to work, meet friends, or have meetings and many of us do wait on our friends or business partners until we order–our of respect. This situation was no different.
I am 100% confident that as a white man in America, I could go to any coffeeshop and sit for two hours without ordering anything and the police would not be called. 100%.#BoycottStarbucks
— JRehling (@JRehling) April 14, 2018
I know a lot of folks are talking about #BoycottStarbucks but many of us are more interested in getting coffee from places where being Black isn’t a crime. Know of any #BlackOwnedCoffee shops? @ me w #BlackOwnedCoffee & location & I will RT.
— Wakandan Afro State of Mind (@AfroStateOfMind) April 14, 2018
After seeing the video I can’t believe Starbucks didn’t take a bigger stand for their employees poor actions.
There are plenty of local coffee shops who will get my business. #BoycottStarbucks
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) April 14, 2018
Not a cup until this is sufficiently addressed. I will march my happy little ass to other cafes without a second thought.
— Charlotte Clymer?️? (@cmclymer) April 14, 2018
— Kim WhyNot (@davis_whynot) April 14, 2018
— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) April 14, 2018
My dad sits around Starbucks for hours and nobody says a word to him about it.
He’s a 69 year old white man, so that might have something to do with it.#BoycottStarbucks
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) April 15, 2018
Calling the police to arrest two black guys just for being there is not an “incident.” It’s racism at its ugliest level. And it should have no place in America.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) April 14, 2018
Walking while Black.
Kneeling while Black.
Using a cell phone while Black.
Driving while Black.
And now…waiting in Starbucks while Black.
This shit MUST stop.#BoycottStarbucks
— Kenny Webb (@Texaskenny) April 15, 2018
“We are reviewing our policies” has become the corporate version of “thoughts and prayers.” #BoycottStarbucks
— Bethany Watson (@RadioBethany) April 15, 2018