Starbucks arrests spark protests in Philadelphia

Thursday, 19 Apr, 2018

Starbucks has announced it will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores for an afternoon of racial-bias education.

Schultz says the company's plans to close about 8,000 locations for implicit bias training is just the beginning of Starbucks's efforts to make the issue right. Officials have said the officers were told the men had asked to use the store's restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything, and they refused to leave.

"What can Starbucks, given our resources, and the capabilities we have - they have an interest in real estate - what can we do to help advise them and support their own business endeavors", he said. They sat in the store without ordering anything and it prompted the store manager to call the police.

Police arrested the men for trespassing, although authorities did not file charges against the men. Yet Schultz believes this may not simply be an "isolated" occurrence, which is why Starbucks is going to great lengths to provide further training - while enlisting NAACP Counsel and President of Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill - for the company's 175,000 employees.

The store manager's complaint is very to the point - her end of the call lasts about ten seconds.

The company did not say anything about how many hours the stores will be closed. Johnson continued his statement by saying that Starbucks is fully committed to being a part of the solution and closing the stores for the racial bias training is just one step in that direction.

The closures cost the company an estimated $6 million, according to Schultz's 2011 book "Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul".

In a subsequent call, an unidentified man said a "group of males" was "causing a disturbance" that required backup and a supervisor.

Johnson met with the two men on Monday and apologized for how they were treated, a company spokesperson said. But by this time, the video of the Black men's apprehension had already gone viral nationwide. Schultz said that there's a possibility the two men could end up working with the company.

Speaking to local news station WPVI-TV, Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross called the situation "unfortunate" and said he had received a call from Starbucks' CEO.