Around two dozen protesters commandeered a Philadelphia Starbucks on Monday, a few days after two black men were arrested at the same location when store employees dialed 911 and claimed the men were trespassing.
Around 7 a.m., protesters assembled outside the store, and about 30 minutes later, went inside, holding signs that read, “End Stop and Frisk,” and reciting slogans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black.”
Amid cries of police brutality and gentrification, Starbucks regional vice president Camille Hymes tried to talk to the protestors but they weren’t having it.
Monday’s protests follow demonstrations that took place outside the establishment on Sunday afternoon.
On April 13, a video surfaced of two black men in a Philadelphia-area Starbucks being handcuffed and escorted by armed police officers, which quickly went viral. The incident occurred the previous day, when police claimed the Starbucks manager asked the two men to leave the premises because they wanted to use to bathroom but hadn’t purchased anything.
A lawyer for the two men stated that they were expecting another person to show up for a business meeting at the coffee shop.
Melissa DePino, the woman who originally took the video, was at the demonstration. “There's nothing more to the story than what you see in the video,” she told Philadelphia’s WPVI. “And when people say 'there must be more to the story,' that's part of the problem, in my view.”
While protesters wanted the manager who called the police to be fired, Hymes tried to calm them, saying, “We take full responsibility and put her in a position that did not set her up for success or for those two men,” per WPVI.
Durham, North Carolina's WTVD later reported on Monday that the Starbucks manager had indeed been let go.
The Philadelphia Police Department launched an internal investigation, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross concluded, “These officers did absolutely nothing wrong,” adding, “They followed policy. They did what they were supposed to do.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also issued a statement apologizing for the incident, naming the arrest a “disheartening situation,” which led to a “reprehensible outcome.” He also proposed that he give a face-to-face apology to the two men, who were released Friday morning.
However, since then, additional details have surfaced, including the fact that the Starbucks manager apparently didn’t ask the two men to leave before calling the police, according to a witness. Other witnesses claimed that at least one of the two men asked for the bathroom code and were denied because they didn’t make a purchase.