Recently Starbucks has been under heavy fire after a video showing two African American men being arrested in their cafe in Philadelphia went viral. According to a CNN report, the two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were arrested in Philadelphia. The two said they arrived at the Starbucks at 4:35 p.m. for a 4:45 p.m. meeting and asked to use the bathroom. The manager of the store said the bathroom was for paying customers only, and Nelson stated he did not think much of it and just went back to his table. Robinson then told the the Washington Post that the manager came over to their table asking if they wanted anything, Robison then told the manager that they were waiting for a meeting. At 4:37 p.m., two minutes after the men arrived, the police were called to investigate two men who were refusing to make a purchase or leave.
“They can’t be here for us,” Robinson said to the Washington Post about the moment he saw the police.
Nelson then said that the police came into the cafe and arrested them. They were not told why they were being arrested or read any rights.
The charges were then dropped later that night, but not before the video of their arrest went viral, sparking national outrage. The video of the arrest was viewed more than 10 million times online. The outrage prompted Starbucks to make a corporate apology on Good Morning America, and CEO Kevin Johnson announced that on May 29 Starbucks close more than 8,000 U.S. stores to give racial bias training to more than 175,000 employees.
This incident is only one of the recent racial profiling cases to have happened in the U.S. the last couple of weeks, but Nelson says that he hopes that his experience will help stop this from ever happening again.
“Everyone is blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” Nelson said. “Just really taking those actions and putting them into place. And helping people understand this is not just a black people thing, this is a people thing.”