Video: Cops arrest two black men sitting in Starbucks for ‘Trespassing’

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The Philadelphia DA’s Office said there was a “lack of evidence” that the men committed any crime.

Philadelphia police are conducting an internal investigation into a viral video that shows officers handcuffing and removing two black men from the premises of a Starbucks store.

“The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything,” tweeted author Melissa DePino, who posted a video of the arrest on Thursday. “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.”

DePino told local news outlet Billy Penn that the incident happened Thursday afternoon and that a friend of hers shot the video.

The clip shows a man in a vest questioning why an arrest is taking place. Lauren A. Wimmer, defense attorney for the pair who was arrested, told BuzzFeed that the man in the vest is Andrew Yaffe, a friend who was meeting the men at Starbucks. She declined to give the names of her two clients.

“What did they get called for?” Yaffe asks an officer in the video. “’Cause there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?”

Another voice can be heard saying, “They didn’t do anything. I saw the entire thing.”

Wimmer told BuzzFeed that a white female manager at the store had asked the pair to leave when they came in and did not order anything. According to Wimmer, the men said they were waiting to meet someone, and the manager called the police.

Philly Voice pointed to a second, longer video uploaded to YouTube that shows an officer telling Yaffe that the other two individuals were being arrested for “trespassing.” Yaffe calls what the officers are doing “discrimination.”

Ben Waxman, a spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, told HuffPost that the two men were released at 1:30 a.m. Saturday. He said the DA will not bring charges against them.

“We declined to bring charges against the two men because there was a lack of evidence that a crime was committed,” Waxman said.

Both Starbucks and Philadelphia police have published statements on social media. The police department did not reply to a request for additional comment from HuffPost, and a Starbucks spokesman pointed to the company’s statements on Twitter.

The police department tweeted Friday that it was “aware” of the incident and was launching an internal investigation into what happened.


Starbucks tweeted an apology on Saturday. “We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores,” the statement read.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted the man in the vest as saying, “’Cause there are two black guys sitting here eating?” He actually said, “’Cause there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?”

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