Many people have done it – meet at Starbucks to catch up with friends. Some people, out of politeness, wait for their whole party before ordering. That’s what two men did in Philadelphia on Thursday, waited for a friend to show up before ordering. But apparently the staff at their local Starbucks weren’t happy about seeing two Black men sitting at a table without ordering, and called the cops.
If that weren’t bad enough, Philadelphia Police officers actually came, and arrested the men, reportedly for trespassing.
“The police were called because these men hadn’t ordered anything,” Melissa DePino said via Twitter. She posted this video of the arrest.
@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
HuffPost, which notes the Starbucks manager is white, reports that “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.”
The Philadelphia DA’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.”
Many are outraged.
Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers summed it up:
“Starbucking while black” it’s a thing now https://t.co/HdyYMjxqrK
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 14, 2018
Starbucks has apologized:
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
But the anger and outrage is growing.
Some are also upset with the Starbucks statement itself:
"what took place"
This statement uses a lot of creative ways to avoid directly acknowledging that a Starbucks employee called the police on two men for being black. https://t.co/oguKjNnseW
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) April 14, 2018
Two black men waited for a friend in a Philadelphia @Starbucks. (I can’t count how many times that I’ve done that exact thing.) They were arrested after employees called the cops on them. The coffee chain has since issued a remarkably incomplete apology. https://t.co/gCpBlGsmWC
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 14, 2018
This is an example of saying a lot but saying nothing. Who called the cops, why did they call the cops, why were the black men targeted for minding their business. I have been to starbucks all over the country 50% of people there not doing nothing but chilling. Need better answer https://t.co/SdfDHSxK0C
— Robert Littal (@BSO) April 14, 2018
This attorney says it’s “worse than I thought.”
Wait wait wait. Those two men cuffed for being black at Starbucks actually got arrested, taken to the precinct, and processed before DA Krasner had to intervene!? Thought they had been let go on scene soon after video. This is worse than I thought & thought it couldn’t get worse. https://t.co/AHeSMjDX11
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) April 14, 2018
Others have weighed in.
WTF? Problem, Blacks, especially Black men, are perceived as a menace. These men weren’t in a bank lobby waiting for a friend. They were in a damn Starbucks…THE “meet me” spot in America. https://t.co/ieB0L3uvhb
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) April 14, 2018
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) April 14, 2018
Some people think there is no such thing as racial profiling. That it is made-up or an exaggeration. It’s not. This type of thing still happens in America. People get arrested for doing nothing…but being black or being Hispanic.@Starbucks, you got some explaining to do. https://t.co/f1yo8akksW
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) April 14, 2018
I'm anxious all the time in public places. I get anxious sitting places without making a purchase. What happened to those brothers in a Starbucks demonstrates why. Black folks BE ANXIOUS.
— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) April 14, 2018
Now being black at @Starbucks is apparently a crime.
(This is in Philadelphia.)
The look of (self-protective) resignation on the men’s faces is heartbreaking and infuriating. https://t.co/EiblbTDLyI
— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) April 13, 2018
So, @Starbucks if I’m going to ask a black friend or business associate to meet me at a Starbucks should I warn them to wait outside? Is there a dress code for black people I should warm them about? Never mind. I’ll go somewhere else. Can’t risk it.
— Justin Bukoski (@JustinBukoski) April 13, 2018
2 innocent Black men, who are real estate brokers, were at @Starbucks waiting on a friend, and the police were called on them. And they were taken out in handcuffs. Literally for nothing. Black Americans have to come to terms with the fact that we are under military occupation https://t.co/Frtf0VOjod
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) April 13, 2018
Be advised: I’ll continue waiting at @Starbucks and if cops arrest me for no valid reason, I want y’all to protest, riot, and be righteously indignant. I’m exhausted with people policing the rightful rage of Black folks just so we can be seen as “respectable.” Enough is enough.
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) April 14, 2018
That Starbucks shit happens ALL the time to Black people. We constantly get the cops called on us for just existing. When I was 14 me and my best friend were walking down the street and detained by cops for like 45 mins. They kept trying to get us to say we "broke into a school."
— Marcus H. Johnson (@marcushjohnson) April 14, 2018
Black teen in Michigan shot at when he knocks on a door to ask for directions. Black men in Philly arrested at Starbucks for minding their own business. Don't knock on a door, go to Starbucks, drive, walk, eat. Just die. That is what they want.#BoycottStarbucks #BlackLivesMatter
— Margaret Kimberley (@freedomrideblog) April 13, 2018
Not once have I ever been asked to leave Starbucks, even after sitting there for hours & not ordering a thing.
I wonder "what if" if I was black or brown…
Anyone who denies white privilege exists is either ignorant or in denial.
These actions are unacceptable @Starbucks!
— TOᑭ ᖇOᑭE TᖇAViS 🇺🇸 (@TopRopeTravis) April 14, 2018
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Bill Barr’s DOJ Intervenes to Support Lawsuit Filed by Christian Photographer Refusing to Photograph Same-Sex Weddings
The U.S. Dept. of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr has intervened in a pre-emptive lawsuit filed by a Kentucky wedding photographer who claims her interpretation of her Christian religion bars her from taking photos of weddings of same-sex couples.
No same-sex couple has ever tried to hire Chelsey Nelson to photograph their nuptials, but her attorneys, the far right wing Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the lawsuit against Louisville city officials anyway, according to the AP. The ADF appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
And now the Justice Dept. in a 23-page “statement of interest” says the “Court should find that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.”
In other words, the DOJ has told the court hearing her case directly that it agrees with the ADF.
The Louisville law bans businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people. Many legal experts agree that refusing to provide a service to an entire class of people is discrimination, hence the countless laws across the country that protect LGBTQ people and other minorities from being refused services their non-LGBTQ peers regularly pay for and receive without question.
The DOJ, however, in a press release claims the legal statement it filed explains that Nelson “is likely to succeed on her claim that requiring her to photograph weddings against her conscience constitutes government-compelled speech that violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”
“The First Amendment forbids the government from forcing someone to speak in a manner that violates individual conscience,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to protect the right of all persons to exercise their constitutional right to speech and expression.”
The ACLU disagrees, and “filed a brief defending the city, arguing that the Nelson’s intent to offer wedding photography only to heterosexual couples violates the city law.”
The renowned civil rights group calls Nelson’s position “identity-based discrimination.”
The SPLC says the Alliance Defending Freedom “has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society.”
Arizona Supreme Court Hands Major Pro-Discrimination Decision to Anti-Gay Christian Conservatives
The Arizona Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of a calligraphy and wedding invitation company whose owners claim their religion forbids them to sell to same-sex couples. Brush & Nib Studio owners Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF also wrote their business operating agreement, according to ABC 10, before filing the lawsuit on the couple’s behalf.
The court ruled 4-3 that the City of Phoenix “cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance … to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski … to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
This is a narrow ruling in that the court noted that its decision applies only to wedding invitations.
“We do not recognize a blanket exemption from the Ordinance for all of Plaintiffs’ business operations.”
“Duka and Koski’s beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some. But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone. After all, while our own ideas may be popular today, they may not be tomorrow,” the court added.
At issue is the City of Phoenix’s six-year old anti-discrimination ordinance, which ADF attacked in court.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2016. The Duka and Koski are not suing because they have been accused of discrimination. They are preemptively suing for the “right” to reject lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender customers. The business owners lost a 2017 judgment and appealed in 2018.
The Southern Poverty Law Center includes the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on its list of anti-gay hate groups. SPLC in 2017 reported Brush & Nib is also a vendor on Etsy, and “voluntarily and willingly agreed to the vendor terms of service for the site, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
AZ Central notes that the state’s Supreme Court “has been packed by Gov. Doug Ducey with judges to his liking.” Ducey is a Republican.
Like many local non-discrimination ordinances, Phoenix’s bans discrimination “based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability,” AZ Central adds.
Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Their ruling will have historic effects.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Georgetown Law Professor: Top Broadcaster ‘Likely’ Killed Interview Because Buttigieg Is Gay
A prominent Georgetown Law professor says Cumulus Media likely blocked an interview one of its country music station hosts had conducted with Pete Buttigieg from airing because the Democratic presidential candidate is gay.
After Huffpost reported that Blair Garner had been told by Cumulus Media he could not air any part of his interview with Buttigieg, Cumulus – the number three broadcaster in the nation of AM and FM radio stations – claimed the decision was based on the “equal time rule.”
Many quickly blasted Cumulus online.
But Talking Points Memo reached out to an expert, Georgetown Law Professor Andrew Schwartzman, who details his explanation but sums it up by saying Cumulus “likely” blocked the interview because Buttigieg is gay.
Schwartzman, a noted media attorney, told TPM the “equal time rule” does not apply to legitimate interviews.
“This was almost certainly a bona fide news interview,” Schwartzman says. “If another candidate asked for equal opportunity, equal time, the station could say no.”
TPM says Cumulus blocked the interview “under false pretenses.”
“This is much more likely to be about Cumulus not wanting to be seen as promoting a candidate who may not be particularly consonant with the proclivities of country station listeners since he is — how should we put this — gay,” Prof. Schwartzman concludes.
If there are any questions about Schwartzman’s bona fides, his stellar bio at Georgetown should put those to rest. It includes this:
From 1978 through 2012, Schwartzman headed Media Access Project (MAP). MAP was a non-profit public interest telecommunications law firm which represented the public in promoting the First Amendment rights to speak and to hear. It sought to promote creation of a well informed electorate by insuring vigorous debate in a free marketplace of ideas. It was the chief legal strategist in efforts to oppose major media mergers and preserve policies promoting media diversity.
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