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Police release 911 call in arrest of black Starbucks customers

The 911 call that brought police to a Starbucks in Philadelphia, resulting in the arrest of two African-American cust...

Posted: Apr. 18, 2018 8:55 AM
Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 8:55 AM

The 911 call that brought police to a Starbucks in Philadelphia, resulting in the arrest of two African-American customers, lasted only seconds.

"Hi, I have two gentlemen at my caf- that are refusing to make a purchase or leave. I'm at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce," a Starbucks employee told police last Thursday shortly after 4:30 p.m.

The brief 911 call was among recordings released Tuesday by the Philadelphia Police. Authorities also released dispatch and officer communications.

The men had initially asked to use the restroom inside the Starbucks but were told the cafe's bathrooms were for customers only. They then sat at a table without making a purchase, which many observers have noted is a common occurrence at the franchise's locations.

A manager called police after the men declined to leave the premises because, they said, they were waiting for an acquaintance.

The men were arrested for trespassing but no charges were filed.

The incident led to protests at the Rittenhouse Square location, including one that briefly shut the location down, and criticism of the mammoth coffee chain. Some protestors called Starbucks "anti-black."

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met with the two men on Monday and apologized for how they were treated, a company spokesperson said.

The manager who called the police is no longer working at that store, the company said.

Starbucks would not comment on other reports that she has left the company by mutual agreement.

On Tuesday, Starbucks said it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias.

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