The chief executive officer (CEO) of Starbucks has announced that he wants to meet the black men who were arrested at the Philadelphia Starbucks last week so he can personally apologize. Apparently, the men were there to attend a business meeting and were waiting for their associate to arrive before ordering their coffee — a practice that most Starbucks patrons are familiar with. It is, after all, polite to wait for your friend or business associate before placing your order at a cafe.
However, in a clearly racially-motivated act, an employee at Starbucks felt that the men should leave because they hadn’t ordered coffee. She contacted police to ask for officers to remove the men, who she claimed were not paying patrons and would not leave the premises when asked.
Witnesses had an entirely different perspective, and so does the video that they recorded of the incident. As evidenced by video and according to witnesses, the men were calmly seated at the cafe when police arrived on scene and started to question them. Some visitors of the cafe interacted with the officers, telling them that the arrest was discrimination and wrong. One man told the officers that he often waits for friends at Starbucks before ordering when having a meeting. The police arrested the men anyway, and as they were taking them away, their business associate arrived.
The CEO of Starbucks has since apologized for the incident and organized time when the 8,000 locations will close for the purpose of conducting training to prevent such an incident from happening again.
If you were falsely arrested or falsely imprisoned because of the color of your skin, it’s likely that your civil rights have been violated. You may be able to defend your civil rights in court if necessary.
Source: Reuters, “Starbucks CEO says arrests of two black men ‘reprehensible’,” April 16, 2018