Arrests at Philadelphia Starbucks Sparks Concerns of Racial Disc - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Arrests at Philadelphia Starbucks Sparks Concerns of Racial Discrimination

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Two black men are arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, after refusing to leave the coffee shop.

It's an incident that has sparked debate over racial discrimination across the country, including here in Erie.

The men were reportedly waiting to meet a friend for a business meeting, and asked to use the bathroom. But the Starbucks manager at the Philadelphia coffee shop said that per their store policy they could not, since they didn't buy anything, and asked them to leave.

When they refused to leave, she called police, and the men were arrested.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is now apologizing, "What happened, and the way that the incident escalated was nothing but reprehensible," said Johnson.

Many people outside of the Starbucks in Downtown Erie said they see the incident as a classic case of modern-day racial discrimination, "There's a lot of racism everywhere it's never going to stop, I don't think it's ever going to stop," said Willie Crosby of Erie.

Charles Connelly is a regular customer at Starbucks in Erie, and says this incident is not a reflection on the entire company, "But obviously in this case, it was racism, let's cut the crap here, it was racism."

"The nice thing about cameras everywhere now, is we can actually see it, there's no plausible deniability anymore except for those who truly want to be ignorant of what's going on in this country," Connelly continued.

Much like the Starbucks in Philadelphia, the Starbucks in downtown Erie has a key to the restrooms just for its customers, to try to keep it from becoming a public restroom.

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