Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Starbucks CEO calls arrest of two black men at Philadelphia store 'reprehensible'

Starbucks Starbucks CEO calls arrest of two black men at Philadelphia store 'reprehensible'
Steven Clarke | 17 April, 2018, 10:31

Demonstrators have gathered at the store since two black men were arrested there Thursday.

Starbucks has apologized to the two men, who haven't been identified, and said it was "disappointed this led to an arrest".

"Protesters swarmed the Starbucks in question on April 15, holding signs that read "Boycott Racist Starbucks" and "#Enough Shame On You Starbucks".

"A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black", according to the protesters.

Last month, Applebee's fired three employees after they were involved in the racial profiling of two African-American women who, while during their dinner at the Independence, Missouri, restaurant, were falsely accused of skipping out without paying their bill the day before.

Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest's organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, told AP that the goal of the demonstration was to keep that Starbucks from "making any money".

One of the videos of the arrest rocketed across social media, with more than 9 million views. They soon entered the store and kept it from opening to the public.

Protests erupted outside of the store on Sunday. Some hid, while others stood at a distance.

"When I walk in and I don't order anything and I'm dressed like this, no manager is calling the police on me", Cohen said.

The chief executive, Kevin R. Johnson, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that what happened to the men was "wrong" and that he wanted to meet with them to apologize.

As far as cleaning up PR disasters go, Johnson is doing a pretty good job.

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Police were called to the store after the men were denied use of the bathroom because they hadn't bought anything and refused to leave.

"What happened and the way that incident escalated and the outcome was nothing but reprehensible and I'm sorry", Johnson said. About 75 people and at least two dozen uniformed officers attended the noon protest, organized by Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif.

The incident at the Philly Starbucks was recorded by local author Melissa DePino, who published the video on Twitter.

"Starbucks has the mantra, 'You come and sit and use the WiFi, '" said Janet Lowder, president of Restaurant Management Services in the Los Angeles area. There is reportedly an internal review pending for the employee, reports said.

A manager called police after the men declined to leave the premises because, they said, they were waiting for an acquaintance.

Both men were later released and the charges they were facing - trespassing and disturbance - were dropped Thursday night. "They put their bodies on the line", said Asa Khalif. "This is what allies do".

I think it's the fault of that wack-ass manager who called the police.

Johnson is expected to meet with the two men, the company said, though it's not clear when.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued his own statement saying the incident "appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018". "They followed policy. They did what they were supposed to do". "I've been very focused on understanding what guidelines and what training ever let this happen".

Now their attorney wants to know whether Starbucks enforces their policies as thoroughly with white customers, while CEO Kevin Johnson would like the whole mess to go away.

"What we know is that black men in this city and nationwide experience disproportionate contact with the police and the criminal justice system", he wrote.

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