Stop Alleged Racial Profiling of Starbucks Customers

Target: Richard Ross, Jr., Philadelphia Police Commissioner

Goal: Demand an apology and an evaluation of departmental practices following the seemingly groundless detainment of two black men by Philadelphia police.

A recent video and tweet taken from a Philadelphia Starbucks location set off a firestorm, reminding us that racial tensions still linger in ways large and small. The video, taken by a middle-aged white female customer, reportedly shows two black men being led away in handcuffs. The men were charged with trespassing, yet witnesses staunchly disagreed with this assessment. Outraged critics believe racial profiling led to the detainments.

Police were called to the premises by store employees, who were allegedly concerned that the men were patronizing the establishment without making a purchase. When confronted, the men claimed they were waiting for a friend, who did later show up after the police had been contacted. Other customers asserted that the two men under suspicion were doing nothing wrong. Regardless, the pair were taken to the local police station, where charges were later dropped.

In the wake of public outcry, Starbucks’ CEO has vowed to make a public apology to the men. Local law enforcement, however, reportedly defended their actions and had no real answer for why they were prepared to make an arrest on allegedly baseless grounds. Sign this petition and demand the Philadelphia Police Department answer for its actions and take the necessary steps to rectify an injustice that goes far beyond an inconvenient misunderstanding.


Dear Commissioner Ross,

A man or woman enters an establishment open to the public and is almost immediately told he or she must leave. That individual is under no restraining order, is not causing a disturbance, and has not stolen a single item. The individual’s mere presence appears to be the cause of concern. These scenarios invoke uncomfortable, disturbing images from this country’s past; these images and the ideals they represent should have no place in our future.

During the recent Starbucks incident, your officers were responding to a call, as they should have. Upon their arrival, however, they had the responsibility to approach this matter in an objective, rational way. Witnesses asserted that no crime had been  apparently committed, save for the alleged ‘crime’ of trespassing in a retail business created for public consumption. If we all must make a purchase and make one within a certain time frame every time we enter a business, we will all surely face arrest at some point.

Please take a harder look at how your department’s actions reflected the rule of law and do your part – as the CEO of Starbucks has done – in making the necessary amends.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bykst

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One Comment

  1. Gen Agustsson says:

    stop it! they did not trespass unless they went into the employees room.

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