Over the course of only a couple days, a video depicting multiple police officers arresting two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks because, reportedly, they ”hadn’t ordered anything” has gone viral with over three million views.
In the video, the white man whom they were there to meet can be heard adamantly questioning the police and the establishment for their baseless actions.
“This is ridiculous. What did they get called for? Because there were two black guys sitting here meeting me? What did they do? Someone tell me what they did,” he demanded.
“They didn’t do anything. I saw the entire thing,” one customer says.
“Nothing,” said another.
@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
According to a source with knowledge of the arrest, a Starbucks employee called the police.
Amid the public outrage, Starbucks has finally responded to the incident with an apology to the two individuals who were arrested.
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
The District Attorney’s office announced that no charges would be filed given the glaring absence of any crime being committed. The Philadelphia Police Department, for its part, has also announced an internal investigation.
We are aware of an incident that occurred on 4-12-18 at the Starbucks Café at 18th and Spruce. The entire incident, including the actions of the responding officers, is under internal investigation. Once we gather all the facts, we will comment further.
— Philadelphia Police (@PhillyPolice) April 14, 2018
While we’re grateful no one was hurt – as we’ve come to expect – this deplorable situation is further evidence of a systemic problem in the criminal justice system that unfairly targets people of color. Until two black men can feel safe waiting for a friend in a local coffee shop, Americans will continue to distrust those in charge of keeping us “safe.”