Philadelphia police have released the recording of the call a Starbucks employee made to authorities that led to the arrest of two black men. In the brief exchange, the store manager calmly informs the police that two men, whose race she does not mention, are refusing to leave.
“Hi, I have two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave,” says Holly, the store manager. She then gives the dispatcher the address to the cafe before saying “thank you” and hanging up the phone.
Police officers and dispatchers can be heard communicating about the report in the rest of the call. The incident is described as a “disturbance” and the employee who made the report as a “supervisor.” Officers were then sent to the location.
Holly, the woman heard on the April 12 call, has since parted ways with the coffee giant. Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz told “CBS This Morning” that he has “no doubt” that Holly’s actions were motived by race. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason that they (police) were called was because they were African American,” Schultz said Wednesday. “That’s not who Starbucks is.”
The arrest of the two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, sparked outrage and immediate calls for a boycott. In response, Starbucks announced they would be shutting down domestic stores on May 29 for “unconscious bias” training to eliminate what CEO Kevin Johnson has suggested is racial bias among his employees.
The two men recently spoke to The Associated Press about the incident. Robinson told AP that he was genuinely afraid for his life at points during the arrest. “Anytime I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind. You never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
A source who frequently visits the Starbucks location told The Daily Wire that Holly was “an SJW feminist of the highest order” and had never shown any signs of racial bias in her experiences at the store.