Two black men met at a Philadelphia Starbucks to have a business meeting, but instead ended up leaving in cuffs. Last Thursday (April 12), the two men, who are unidentified, were waiting for a third person to arrive to their real estate meeting so they had not ordered anything yet. Since they hadn’t ordered anything, one of the Starbucks employees decided to alert the police and tell them that the men were trespassing. Once the police arrived, they allegedly asked the two men to leave three times. They refused, so they were arrested.
“These guys were doing what people do every day, they were having a meeting and they were undoubtedly singled out because of their race,” Lauren Wimmer, the attorney for the two men, told CBS News.
Commissioner Richard Ross, who is black, defended the arresting police officers, saying they did nothing wrong.
“As an African American male, I am very aware of 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’ (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties and they did just that.”
The man whom they were supposed to meet with arrived during the arrest and can be seen in the video calling the incident “ridiculous.”
Starbucks has since issued an apology via thier Twitter.
The Philadephia Police Department claims the officers involved in this incident are under investigation.
The men were later released after Starbucks decided not to prosecute. A spokesman for the district attorney’s office said there was also a lack of evidence that a crime was committed.