Police have released the 911 call that led to the arrest of two Black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks Thursday, April 12. While the video of the arrest went viral for days, the call a manager made to Philadelphia Police lasted just a few seconds.
“Hi, I have two gentlemen at my café that are refusing to make a purchase or leave. I’m at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce,” the manager, who reportedly is no longer employed at the store, told dispatch following claims the men were trespassing.
Authorities released the call on Tuesday, April 17 according to CNN. They also released dispatch and officer communications, where a cop refers to the incident as a “disturbance” involving a “group of males.”
The two men had been waiting for a white colleague, real estate developer Andrew Yaffe, when police arrived. In the clip taped by Melissa DePino, Yaffe asked, “What did they get called for? Because there are two Black guys here meeting me?”
Police declined to press trespassing charges against the men that were later released. But police commissioner defended the officers who responded to the incident. In the immediate aftermath, protests have erupted ever since the clip went viral.
The same day the call was released, the men’s attorney, Stewart Cohen, issued a statement from them and Starbucks officials.
“For the past several days, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and my clients, the gentlemen involved in the incident at Starbucks that led to their arrest, have been engaged in constructive discussions about this issue as well as what’s happening in communities across the country,” the statement said. “Mr. Johnson apologized on behalf of Starbucks. And the conversation continues today about how this painful incident can become a vehicle for positive social change. And the people at the center of this have come together, with civility common, purpose and a willingness to listen to one another and work towards a solution. Together we ask that the community respect this process. There will be more to follow.”
The Seattle-based coffee chain announced it would close 8,000 locations in May to provide racial sensitivity training. A spokesperson also confirmed to various media outlets that Johnson had a private meeting with the two men on Monday, although details were not released.