A video of two Black men being handcuffed at a Philadelphia Starbucks cafe by nearly half a dozen policemen went viral and has drawn widespread condemnation on social media, after a woman named, Melissa DePino, posted the video on Twitter.
According to the eyewitness sources, a Starbucks employee called police accusing them of loitering Thursday, since the two men didn't make a purchase immediately, as they were reportedly waiting for a friend to join them.
Following the video made available online, many people took to social media condemning the police action and racial profiling, making calls to boycott the coffee chain altogether. The 8-minute detention video which shows the two men calmly submitting to the police drew widespread ire from the onlookers.
"The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything," DePino reported. "They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing."
@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
The video which has garnered over 8 million views, shows the two Black men being handcuffed by the police, as an onlooker, a white guy probes one of the many policemen, asking him, "This is ridiculous, what did they get caught for, What did they do?" to which a woman (not seen in the video) responded, "They didn't do anything, I saw the whole thing."
Starbucks apologized to the two Black men Saturday. "We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest," Starbucks said. "We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores."
"The video shot by customers is very hard to watch. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did," Starbucks said in an official statement.
The local police department also issued a statement explaining the circumstances and saying an investigation has been opened into the incident. "We are aware of an incident that occurred on 4-12-18 at the Starbucks Café at 18th and Spruce," Philadelphia Police, said. "The entire incident, including the actions of the responding officers, is under internal investigation."
Prominent social media users slammed the company over the incident and began to share their own experiences of "loitering" in Starbucks in a similar fashion to the two Black men.
Cornell Brooks, a former NAACP president, posted a tweet tweeted about all the times he had used a Starbucks store to wait for a friend or a family member.
TRUE CONFESSION: I ‘ve done the following (while Black):— Cornell Wm. Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) April 14, 2018
loitered in @Starbucks, waiting for a friend;
loitered in @Starbucks, waiting for the rain to stop;
& EVEN asking my teenage sons to loiter & wait for me at @Starbucks.
ARRESTED for LOITERING w/o A LATTE. SMH ����@AP https://t.co/b7LKAWmN3Y
We know what happened. It was a gross double standard rooted in racism. What we need is an apology followed by restitution. We need you to proactively make this right by the two young men you violated. https://t.co/enIbgtzGrK— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 14, 2018