Police across the country just can’t seem to break out their M.O. of enforcing and reinforcing this country’s longstanding, irrational fear of black bodies.
As noted in a recent column, black people are pretty much criminalized for breathing in the United States. (That, and standing, sitting, sleeping, walking, and 45 some other odd “things.”)
Latest case in point: On Thursday, two black real estate agents in Philadelphia were cuffed and led out of a Starbucks—the epitome of loitering space—because employees at the store called the police after the men allegedly wanted to use the bathroom but did not buy anything.
A white barista apparently pulled rank and called the police, one of the most dangerously aggressive things one can do to a black person in America.
After the police arrived, the two men were actually perp walked out the store, their only crime seemingly the audacity to violate a tony white space in Philly’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
@Starbucks The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing. pic.twitter.com/0U4Pzs55Ci
— Melissa DePino (@missydepino) April 12, 2018
Melissa DePino, who captured the incident on video, said the two young men were waiting for a friend, who actually showed up as they were being arrested. DePino ran it all down in a tweet about the incident:
“The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything. They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.”
The two black men both bearded, one had cornrows—were mostly silent when multiple officers arrived to slap handcuffs on them.
Their white compatriots, however, questioned the police for the arrests (something that said two black men most assuredly would be punished for).
“What did they do?” incredulously asks one man of the police.
“They didn’t do anything, I saw the entire thing,” another person said.
After Twitter went off, Starbucks tweeted to users on Friday night saying they were aware of the events, and later issued a statement apologizing to the two men. The men were later released from jail after Starbucks declined to prosecute.
We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/suUsytXHks
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 14, 2018
After an initial tweet saying that they were investigating, the African-American police chief later in the day vehemently defended his officers’ actions in a Facebook Live post.
“They did a service that they were called to do,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “And if you think about it logically, that if a business calls and they say that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, (officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties. And they did just that.”
Question: Does it take six of them to do it?
Ross later adds that the two men taunted the cops, saying they only make $45,000 a year, and then this: “As an African-American male, I am very aware of implicit bias.” He also noted that PPD rookies are sent to the Holocaust and African American Museum in D.C. to help them understand the oppressed (I guess). Chief Ross also said that anything less than “fair and unbiased policing … will not be tolerated in this department.”
Last question: A show of hands for all those who think this would never have happened to two white men sitting in a Starbucks in an affluent neighborhood, regardless of what they bought or did not buy?
Right, we didn’t think so. Neither does Philadelphia’s mayor, who said the incident “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”
source: the root