A Philadelphia Starbucks and the local Philadelphia Police Department have come under fire following the arrest of two African American males that were taken in to custody on Thursday afternoon, April 12.
According to patron accounts and video taken of the incident inside the Starbucks store located at 18th and Spruce Streets, the two men were handcuffed by six Philadelphia officers after using the restroom and sitting without ordering food. Starbucks employees were said to have called 911 to report that the men where trespassing after an employee asked them to leave.
The two men did not resist arrest while an unknown white man, who reportedly came to meet them for business reasons, questioned the officers for the cause of their arrest. “What did they get called for?” the man reportedly asked an officer. “Cause there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?”
The officer’s response to the man was unclear. The officers did call a supervisor in for backup as a precaution just in case the incident became out of control.
@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
The two men were taken to 901 N. 21st St., the Philadelphia Police Central Detectives headquarters and the Ninth Police Division, were they were booked for trespassing. Shortly after receiving backlash from the patrons of Starbucks and the general public, who believe the arrests were made purley out of discrimination, Starbucks has released a public apology and decided against pressing charges.
“We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest,” Starbucks said in an apology statement issued on Saturday. “We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has issued a public statement on behalf of his precinct and his officers via a Facebook video.
“These officers did absolutely nothing wrong, and they did a service they were called to do,” Ross shared in his public statement. Philadelphia Mayor Kenney has also issued a statement after the two men where arrested in Starbucks.
“I’m very concerned by the incident at Starbucks. I know Starbucks is reviewing it and we will be too. @PhillyPolice is conducting an internal investigation,” Mayor Kenney said on his Twitter page.