The video that caused a media firestorm, which erupted around two Black men forcibly ejected from a Starbucks in Philadelphia, is apparently just the tip of the iceberg.
FULL INTERVIEW: "This is something that has been going on for years…everyone is blind to it."
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 19, 2018
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson told ABC’s Good Morning America that the cops were not only called just two minutes after their arrival, but they also were never read their Miranda rights when those officers showed up. Wikipedia classifies Miranda rights as a right to silence warning, issued by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody before their arrest. This is done before they are interrogated to preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in criminal proceedings.
Miranda rights are usually announced as the following:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?”
″They can’t be here for us,” said Robinson, as he recalled the series of events that led to officers entering the Starbucks a few minutes after their arrival. According to the interview, Nelson and Robinson had just arrived to the Starbucks and were waiting for a 4:45PM meeting. While waiting for a third party to show up, they asked if they could use the bathroom, however were denied and told it’s for paying customers only. They returned to their table to wait, only to have the manager approach them a couple of minutes later asking the two men to leave. What followed was the infamous 9-1-1 call that sparked this controversy clearly fueled by racial bias.
FULL INTERVIEW: "I personally apologize…" Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson one-on-one with @RobinRoberts in his first interview after two black men were handcuffed at a Philadelphia store.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 16, 2018
Nelson and Robinson are currently in a much-awaited mediation with Starbucks. The outcome is meant to resolve this incident as amicably as possible and make strides for the future. Two of the projected outcomes are a Consumer Bill of Rights to be posted in stores, as well as new policies for customer ejections and racial profiling, at Starbuck properties. They hope to bring about a lasting change for the coffee chain that goes beyond the 8,000 stores that will be closing for racial bias training.
What stands out is their treatment in the first place. Minutes after their initial contact with employees, both men were asked to leave. Two minutes after that, the authorities were called on them for non-compliance. Multiple officers arrived at the scene to speak to Nelson and Robinson, who had done nothing wrong outside of waiting inside the famed coffee shop. Following that, they were put in handcuffs — ignored their Miranda rights, as stated above — where they were subsequently put in jail and sat until midnight. Eventually, the District Attorney’s office felt their wasn’t enough justification to prosecute the two men (since they did nothing wrong) and were then let go.
Coming up this Thursday morn on @GMA I sit down with the two men who were arrested last week in the Philadelphia Starbucks. They are speaking out for the first time about what they say happened that day and the changes they hope to come from this.
— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) April 19, 2018
This perception of “Fear of the Black Man” needs to end. There are two many cases of Black men being harassed or harmed by authorities when they are not breaking the law or endangering lives. What’s particularly worse is their treatment afterwards, even when they are compliant with the police.
Hopefully with Nelson and Robinson being able to share their story on national television the narrative will start to change.