Southeastern PA

Philadelphia Starbucks' incident prompts heated reaction

PHILADELPHIA - Over the weekend, demonstrators pushed for the Philadelphia Starbucks' employee to be fired for calling the police.

On Monday, they accused Starbucks of racism. 

Protestors reconvened outside the Philadelphia Starbucks around 7 a.m. in the pouring rain. They soon entered the store and kept it from opening to the public.

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

Police say they were told that the men had asked to use the store's restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything and they refused to leave.

The men were arrested but later released.

The DA says there's wasn't enough evidence that a crime was committed.

The ACLU released a statement, saying:

Black Philadelphians face daily indignities when they are simply trying to go about their business. This incident shows that black people can’t even ‘wait while black.’ Starbucks failed these men and all of its customers by treating them in this unfair and demeaning way. Based on all eyewitness accounts, there was no need for police intervention.

The ACLU says the district in which the Starbucks incident occurred "continuously has the highest rates of racial disparities in stops."

Starbucks' CEO now promises reform.

"I'm going to do everything I can to ensure it is fixed and never happens again. Whether that is changes to the policy and the practice, additional store manager training, including training around unconscious bias, and we will address this," said CEO Kevin Johnson.

Johnson says he has spoken with Philadelphia's mayor, police commissioner and other community leaders. He says he plans to meet with them personally over the next two days.

The two men who were arrested have also agreed to sit down with him.


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