Men say they were arrested within minutes after arriving at Philadelphia Starbucks

Starbucks has said it will close all 8,000 of its United States stores for the afternoon of 29 May while it conducts what it called "racial bias training" in light of the recent arrest of two black men who were waiting in one the coffee giant's Philadelphia locations. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.

"We were getting the police officers to slow down their thinking", said Emily Owens, an economist at the University of California, Irvine, who was one of the researchers. "We have meetings at Starbucks all the time". The men were asked to leave the store, but they declined, saying that they had not done anything wrong and that they were waiting for someone.

But when the officers began walking in their direction, "we knew she called the police on us", Nelson told the Associated Press in his first interview since the encounter went viral, leading to severe backlash against the coffee chain. They also want all police officers to wear body cameras within a year.

"It's a real estate meeting".

Nelson and Robinson were led away in handcuffs from the shop in the city's well-to-do Rittenhouse Square neighbourhood in an incident recorded on a white customer's cellphone. "Handcuffed behind our backs and escorted out and put into a squad vehicle". Nelson and Robinson spent several hours in jail after being taken into custody.

A white Starbucks manager said the men were not buying anything and so she called the police last Thursday.

The training is going to be developed with assistance from civil rights experts like former US Attorney General Eric Holder, president of the NAACP Legal Defence and Education Fund Sherrilyn Ifill, Bryan Stevenson who is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, president of policy organisation Demos Heather McGhee, and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt. Ross said police on the scene, "in an effort to quell the situation, called for a supervisor" to keep things from getting "out of hand".

Ross said it was the wrong for him to have said in a Facebook Live video on Sunday that the "officers did not do anything wrong".

In a study involving the Seattle Police Department, researchers randomly selected a group of officers to meet with their sergeants and have an open-ended, 20-minute conversation about a recent encounter with a citizen.

When The Triton asked a spokesperson from the Starbucks corporate office as to why some stores will remain open, the spokesperson explained that it may be due to the fact that the UCSD Starbucks is a university-affiliated store, but Starbucks could also neither confirm nor deny whether UCSD Starbucks employees will still receive the racial bias training.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson released a statement last Saturday night apologizing to the two men on behalf of the company."The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks mission and values", Johnson said in the statement. "We will learn from this and be better". The two men did not resist arrest, but instead appeared confused and unsure of what to think or do. "They were wrong, and for that, I personally apologise to the gentlemen that visited our store".

The arrests, which were captured on cell phone video, sparked demonstrations inside and outside the Starbucks, which is located on swanky Rittenhouse Square, and more national and worldwide conversations over social media about the state of race in the era of President Donald Trump.

  • Kyle Peterson