Capitulating to an uprising leftist mob, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to two non-customers who were arrested last week in a Philadelphia, PA Starbucks’ location. The non-customers refused to leave the coffee shop when asked after it became apparent to management they were not going to place an order. Police called to the scene asked the non-customers to leave three times, according to police. They refused and were led away in handcuffs. No charges were filed.
A bystander captured the scene with a cellphone camera, and the trespass arrest went viral on social media soon becoming conflated to an incident of racial discrimination, with comments ranging from anecdotal to speculative that whites would not have been booted from the shop for failing to become a customer. Mainstream media emphasized the race of the non-customers, rather than the uncontroversial issue of ejectment for trespass itself.
Of course, this would be a different story if two black men had purchased a product and were denied use of the restroom or had been asked to leave. But the point missed here is that Starbucks is private property. The permission or “license” to enter – whether Starbucks or any commercial enterprise in America – is that entry is licensed by a store or restaurant to members of the public in anticipation of an individual buying a product. That’s implicit in law and why Starbucks’ doors were opened in the first place. The right of ejectment is in the hands of the owner or management and there is no possessory interest or privilege to remain on the premises granted to the public by the mere fact that a store opens its doors.
Some have argued that if these two men had been soccer moms they would not have been arrested. On the other hand, the men were only arrested when they refused to leave, after being asked by police three times. Most soccer moms I know would likely leave private property when asked by police even once.
By Starbuck’s CEO apologizing, he is in effect implicitly admitting Starbucks does not have the right or will not exercise its right to eject non customers from its stores. I would reverse the argument: If the two men who refused to leave and were arrested were two belligerent white guys, would the CEO be groveling today?
Of course, I am not condemning Starbucks for going the extra mile to insure no one is discriminated against in their shops based on color, gender, creed, age, looks, possibly smell or even misapprehended offensive behavior.
To take it a step further, I applaud Starbucks for any attention they can bring to bear on the fact that there is probably no black person living today in America who has not experienced a raft of racial prejudice.
However, I am not sure this Starbucks incident passes the smell test for racial prejudice. The tresspassers were on the wrong side of the law. They should have left when asked to leave, if not by management, certainly by the police.
In the end they may have been wise to remain despite the law. Thanks to the leftist mob, they will get an apology, probably some cash settlement in return for a public statement praising Starbucks and it is not unlikely they will be able to go to Starbucks any time they please and maybe never have to buy a thing there again.
Here is the typical mainstream version of the story for readers to understand both sides of this controversial topic.
The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week have agreed to meet with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
The timing of the meeting has not been set, according to a Starbucks spokesperson. The company said it hopes the meeting will occur this week while Johnson is in Philadelphia addressing the controversy over their arrests.
In an interview Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Johnson said he hoped to meet with the two men in person to apologize face to face.
“I’d like to have a dialogue with them so that I can ensure that we have opportunity to really understand the situation and show some compassion and empathy for the experience they went through,” he said. “Finally as we’re working to solve this, I’d like to invite them to join me in finding a constructive way to solve this issue.”
He called the arrests “reprehensible” and promised to take action so that it doesn’t happen again.
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