Starbucks Planning to Close Its 8,000 Stores in the U.S....For Racial Bias Training in May

Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson

Recently, Starbucks made headlines when two African American males were arrested….for doing nothing.

The two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, entered a Philadelphia Starbucks last Thursday for a business meeting with a man by the name of Andrew Yaffe. The men did not immediately order anything as they were waiting for Yaffe to arrive, but Nelson asked to use the bathroom and was told that the bathroom was for paying customers only. Minutes later, the men were being escorted out of the Starbucks in handcuffs by five police officers.

A customer who was present for the entire ordeal recorded the incident and posted it online where it has gone viral. When Yaffe arrived, he questioned the police as to why Nelson and Robinson were being arrested. In the video, you can hear this, as well as the woman recording it telling Yaffe that the men didn't do anything.

The men’s attorney, Lauren A. Wimmer, is quoted in a Buzzfeed article explaining that while the men were waiting for Yaffe to arrive “a white female manager asked them to leave.” After informing the manager that they were waiting for another person before they would order, she phoned the police.

The two men and other customers witnessing the whole thing were shocked at what was happening.

This has caused widespread outrage, protests and calls for a boycott of Starbucks stores.

Buzzfeed also reported in another article that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, and the Philadelphia Police Commissioner who initially defended the officers that arrested the men, Richard Ross,have since issued apologies.

In order to ensure that this never happens again, Starbucks is planning to close its 8,000 stores in the United States for one afternoon on May 29. During this time, some 175,000 employees will be participating in racial and unconscious bias training. CNN Money reports that the training “will be developed with guidance from experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.” The Philadelphia Police Department will be undergoing some changes as well. Police Commissioner Ross said to Buzzfeed reporters that the department will be releasing a new policy for dealing with similar situations in the future.

The Washington Post reports that Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ executive chairman, told Gayle King in an interview that he spoke with the manager and that show now realizes that the call shouldn't have been made. The manager has not been named, but she has been let go.