Starbucks: Protesters call for boycott after black men arrested

BBC News
Getty Images Protesters converged on the Philadelphia Starbucks where two black men were arrested

The arrest of two black men at a Starbucks in the US city of Philadelphia has sparked protests and boycott calls.

The coffee chain's chief executive, Kevin Johnson, apologised for the arrests in a statement on Saturday.

But protests continued, with many entering the store on Monday to call for the manager's dismissal.

On Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks has been shared tens of thousands of times.

Happening NOW: Protesters *inside of Center City @Starbucks store where two black men were arrested after sitting in store without purchasing a drink. Protesters demanding employee who called police be fired. @6abc pic.twitter.com/cEmemwcDwC

End of Twitter post by @6abcJeannette

The arrests took place on Thursday evening. The two men, who had not made a purchase, were waiting for a friend to arrive when they were asked to leave by the store manager. They refused and police were called.

A video of the incident posted on social media has been viewed close to 10 million times.

@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

End of Twitter post by @missydepino

Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross defended the police's actions in a video statement posted to Facebook.

"It is important to emphasise and underscore that these officers had legal standing to make this arrest," he said.

"They were called to the scene because employees said they were trespassing.

"It is important for me to say that, in short, these officers did absolutely nothing wrong. They followed policy. They did what they were supposed to do. They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen."

Commissioner Richard Ross gives a statement on the incident that occurred 4-12-18 at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets

End of Facebook post by Philadelphia Police Department

Online, the arrests have prompted anger and debate. Some social media users shared stories of discriminatory behaviour.

This Philly Starbucks story reminds me of when the police were called me in Denver at a bank for trying to cash my paycheck. I was a producer on a TV show at the time, the manager said I was lying.

End of Twitter post by @NewsladyKara

Writer Brian O'Sullivan also linked the arrests to race.

"I've seen many, many white people sit at Starbucks without ordering and I've never seen management ask them to leave," he said. "What happened is despicable," he added.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted to demand "implicit bias training for police nationwide".

"Sitting in Starbucks while being Black resulted in two men being arrested," the organisation posted on their official Twitter page.

"Racial justice demands... profound culture change that upholds and protects the dignity of people of colour."

In his statement, Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson said, "the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong.

"Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome.

"Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did."

By UGC and Social News team

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