Life in America

A couple of guys go to Starbucks to meet a friend. They asked to use the restroom and were told it was only for paying customers. (Fun fact: I’ve used the restroom at various Starbuckses without buying anything, and no one batted an eye.) They hung out quietly chatting while waiting for their friend, and then…the police arrived and handcuffed them and arrested them.

Lauren, who asked that her last name not be used, shot video of the two men being arrested at the Starbucks just before 5 p.m. on April 12. She said the incident began after the men asked to use the bathroom and were told that it was only available for paying customers, which Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross later confirmed.

After the men had been “quietly hanging out, chatting and waiting for their friend,” she said officers entered the restaurant and asked the two men to leave, saying that they would be trespassing if they did not leave.

“The two young men politely asked why they were being told to leave and were not given a reason other than the manager wanted them to leave,” she told ABC in an email.

The men told the officer that they were waiting for a friend to arrive and offered to call that friend to prove that they had legitimate business at the restaurant, she said.

At that point, she said several officers began to move tables and chairs around the two men and take them into custody.

Notice something missing? The part where the manager asks them to buy something or leave. That never happened.

The friend for whom the men were waiting then arrived and attempted to intervene, but police told him the men “were not paying customers and thus were trespassing,” Lauren recalled.

“The two men stayed calm and did not raise their voices once. Everyone else in the Starbucks, however, was appalled,” she added.

Lauren said another woman had entered the Starbucks minutes before the men were arrested and was given the bathroom code without having to buy anything and that another person in the restaurant at the time of the incident “announced that she had been sitting at Starbucks for the past couple of hours without buying anything.”

Yeah but she had been sitting at Starbucks for the past couple of hours without buying anything while white. Apparently it makes all the difference.

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