Protest over Starbucks arrests by Philadelphia police: Recap

Dani Jo, 31, of Kensington, with Black Lives Matter, holds her sign as she joins protesters organized by the interfaith group POWER outside City Hall on Thursday, rallying against the decision of officers to arrest two black men at a Center City Starbucks last week.

Protesters convened outside Philadelphia police headquarters and marched to City Hall late Thursday afternoon to rally against the decision of officers to arrest two black men at a Center City Starbucks last week, an incident that has sparked national outrage.

The march was organized by POWER, an interfaith group that helped lead Monday’s sit-in at the 18th and Spruce Streets location where the incident occurred last Thursday. Earlier this week, members of the group met with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and chairman Howard Schultz about the incident.

Thursday’s protest came hours after Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross publicly apologized to the men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who were arrested for sitting in the store without making a purchase. Ross initially said “officers did absolutely nothing wrong,” a comment that drew outrage from activists and stirred POWER to hold Thursday’s march.

Camera icon TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Marchers pass outside the Starbucks on Market Street, heading toward City Hall, protesting the arrest of two black men at a different Center City Starbucks last week.


Here is a recap of the event.

At City Hall, protesters call for meeting with Mayor Kenney

Kenney issues apology to men and praises Ross on Twitter

“I want to commit our city to healing together,” Kenney wrote while the march was underway.

Protesters chant and march toward City Hall

‘We’ve had enough of getting accosted … while black’

Some activists demanded a sit-down meeting with police.

Commissioner Ross ‘showed his true colors’ when he defended police, marchers say

Ross’ apology was too little too late to some activists.

Others protested how many officers responded to the Starbucks last Thursday.

>>READ MORE: Philly looking into other incidents at same Starbucks where two black men were arrested

>>READ MORE: Men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks appear on GMA: ‘It’s not just a black people thing, this is a people thing’

What Ross initially said

Commissioner Richard Ross gives a statement on the incident that occurred 4-12-18 at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets

Posted by Philadelphia Police Department on Saturday, April 14, 2018

“Commissioner Ross has said the officers did ‘absolutely nothing wrong,’” POWER wrote on a Facebook page about Thursday’s march. “Join us to demonstrate that we will not tolerate racial discrimination and that Philadelphia Police must end racial bias and complicity with White supremacy.”