Viral Video Taken Place At A Philadelphia Starbucks Receives Massive Attention

Cristiana Amaro, Staff Writer

Two twenty-three year old black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were arrested from what bystanders claim, “without incident,”  in a Starbucks located in Philadelphia April 12, 2018. A viral video taken during the event reached over 4.3 million views that disturbed many viewers and people of the community. Officials stated that the two black men came and sat down in the Starbucks without ordering anything. Waiting for a business associate to come meet with them, the two men were asked to leave after asking to use the restroom. The two men sat back down, refusing to leave, quickly after the police were called to the scene. Both men were later put into handcuffs and escorted out by police for suspicion of trespassing. Which led the two men to be held nearly nine hours before being released later that day.


Andrew Yaffe, a white man questioned, “What did they get called for?” he was talking with officers before the men were escorted. “Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?” the whole confrontation was also caught on film and later posted online. Starbucks decided to drop all charges regarding the two men later in the week which was confirmed by Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. of the Philadelphia Police Department from what he said in a recorded statement Saturday. Starbucks later apologized on Twitter after #BoycottStarbucks quickly became a trend on social media. Starbucks tweeted, “We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest. We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores…”


“It’s my sincere apology to the people I’ve failed in a variety of ways in regard to the incident,” Richard Ross Jr. said after receiving many negative responses after uploading a video of himself defending the officers who were involved with the incident. In the video Ross explained that the officers did, “absolutely nothing wrong,” and continued explaining that they were only following policy. Later on, Ross spoke out at a press conference and said that he, “failed miserably” and that, “I exacerbated the situation with my messaging, it’s as simple as that.”


That Saturday, protesters held signs outside of the Starbucks. Some said, “Starbucks coffee is anti-black!” and other signs with a softer approach which said, “Too little too latte #BLM” The protest led to the shutdown of Starbucks for several hours, but later opened again that day afterwards. African-American leaders spoke out with their critical comments while others sat and attended the protest. Robinson and Nelson, men who are the center of it all, said that they, “Just hope the incident will lead to change.”