Nearly two dozen protesters took over a Philadelphia Starbucks on Monday, days after store employees called the police to report two black men for “trespassing,” despite the pair waiting for a friend before placing an order.
“We don’t want this Starbucks to make any money today. That’s our goal,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest’s organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.
The protests came after demonstrators gathered outside the City Center Starbucks on Sunday, carrying placards that read “too little too late” and calling for the employee who phoned the police to be terminated.
On Saturday, the company’s CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the two men in a statement, saying, “I’m writing this evening to convey three things: First, to once again express our deepest apologies to the two men who were arrested with a goal of doing whatever we can to make things right. Second, to let you know of our plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again. And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.”
Police haven’t released the names of the men who were arrested but said they were told the pair had asked to use to store’s restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything.
Customers who witnessed the incident said they believed the men were racially profiled.
@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