Controversial arrest sparks outrage in Philadelphia

Courtesy of AKS.9955, Wikipedia

Starbucks faces backlash after two black men were arrested for standing in the establishment for two minutes.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson arrived at Starbucks for a real estate business meeting at a Philadelphia Starbucks. After arriving Nelson asked to use the restroom and the manager said it was for paying customers. Within two minutes of being at the Starbucks, 911 was called.

Typically at Starbucks, customers use the facility for meetings or to do homework with no problems from the workers.

Their mission statement says, “Expect more than coffee. It's not unusual to see people coming to Starbucks to chat, meet up or even work. We’re a neighborhood gathering place a part of the daily routine and we couldn’t be happier about it.”

This situation had nothing to with their actions. It was about the color of their skin. The manager that called the police no longer works at the Philadelphia Starbucks location and 175,000 Starbucks employees are set to receive anti-bias training.

“This is not who we are and it's not who we’re going to be. Whether that is changes to the policy and practice, additional store manager training including training, around unconscious bias, we will address this," said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks.

Not only did Johnson give an apology to the press, he personally met with Nelson and Robinson in a private meeting.

Nelson and Robinson met with Robin Roberts in an interview with Good Morning America. Roberts started off the interview by asking the two,"What did you think when you saw the police arrive?"

"It can’t be for us," said Robinson.

There was no questioning between the men and the manager, the two were just standing there one minute and in handcuffs the next.

Later in the week, Starbucks announced they will close 8,000 company owned stores on May 29 to conduct racial bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.

The training program will be designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.

They will have several national and local experts on confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative, Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP legal Defense and Education Fund, Heather McGhee, president of Demos, former U.S Attorney General Eric Holder and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of Anti Defamation League.

The men shouldn’t have been arrested because they did not pose a threat to any of the customers. To make make matters worse, the police officers didn't read the men their Miranda rights.

Overall it was the right decision to fire the manager because the manager was being prejudiced to people of color, but it was not right to call 911 because there was nothing to mediate.

The men will not file charges against the company, and want to collaborate with Starbucks for racial bias training.