A 911 call led to the arrest of two African American men at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The incident occurred last Thursday afternoon around 4:37 pm when two men entered the coffee shop to wait for a friend. The men did not purchase any items, and one of the men asked to use the rest room, which a Starbucks employee denied. After the request, the manager contacted the police to remove them from the store. When the friend who was Caucasian arrived, the police were handcuffing his friends. Boycotts resulted from the unlawful arrest, and the CEO apologized for the incident. On May 29, Starbucks stores will be closed for a day of racial bias training for employees of the popular chain.
The Starbucks incident brings up issues of whether certain racial groups are treated differently at the chain when they choose to hang out at the coffee shop without buying any items. Unfortunately, racial profiling may occur in other venues and circumstances where specific racial groups may be falsely portrayed as a threat. Examples of racial profiling include police officers frisking a group of African American men because they mistakenly believe the men are selling drugs, stopping individuals of Middle Eastern descent for the false suspicion that they may commit terroristic acts, or police officers pulling over a Caucasian man in a predominantly African American neighborhood for the false assumption that the man is buying drugs.
If you believe you are a victim of racial profiling and faced an unlawful arrest, contact our Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients across the United States.