This week, Starbucks came under fire after video surfaced two black men being handcuffed, seemingly unprompted, at a Philadelphia location the chain cfeehouse. The two men were arrested after an employee called the police to report them as having trespassed. In the clips, however, you can hear other patrons calling the arrests uncalled for and protesting as the men are escorted out the shop.
Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross has since defended the arrests, affirming that his ficers were called to the scene when a disturbance was reported because the two men in question tried to use the restroom and were told that it was only for paying customers. The men reportedly refused to leave after being asked by employees three times. According to sources, however, the men were waiting in the shop to meet with someone before ordering.
“As an African American male, I am very aware implicit bias; we are committed to fair and unbiased policing,” Ross said in a statement. “If a business calls and they say that ‘Someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business,’ ficers] now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that.”
Starbucks has since issued an apology for the arrests, and the men were released after the company was “no longer interested” in prosecuting them. Since then, a rapid rise in the #BoycottStarbucks movement has once again taken place, with many pointing to the incident as a sign racial discrimination. One notable name already throwing in his support the movement is course T.I. who is no stranger to boycotting establishments that discriminate against minorities, specifically African-Americans. “I ain’t spending no more my bread wit em,” he penned under an Instagram post. “ Urge y’all not to either.”
Earlier in the year, T.I. led a boycott against an Atlanta location the chain steakhouse Houston’s following allegations racial priling against black patrons when it refused to seat a party black diners, citing “aggressive behavior” as the cause.