Military and Police

Spilling the Beans: Starbucks Propagates Anti-Cop Bias at its Anti-Bias Training for Employees

Somehow I am not surprised in the least that a gargantuan business icon in America finger-points more than it bears responsibility for its own venues and what takes place within them, involving their own employees. I guess it defines scapegoating. On May 29, Starbucks closed roughly 8,000 of its US-based coffee shops and, according to reports, forced bias at its mandatory anti-bias “training” for all of its employees. Cops were on the receiving end of inflammatory propaganda stemming from the April 12, 2108 incident in Philadelphia whereby a Starbucks  manager called police to help remove two African-American men who allegedly refused to depart the premises when asked.

Both Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson informed the manager that they were waiting for a friend to arrive so as to conduct a business meeting. The Starbucks manager initially claimed she asked both men to either purchase something or vacate the table/chairs they were occupying. Seemingly refusing to leave when asked, Philadelphia cops were summoned to handle the coffee merchant’s impasse. After a back-and-forth exchange among Nelson and   Robinson and the police officers addressing the Starbucks manager’s requests for them to leave, both businessmen were arrested for trespassing after warning.

At least that is the gist of what ignited the firestorm in which the racism debate sparked “anti-bias training” mandated by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, CEO Kevin Johnson and corporate figureheads.

Of Starbucks 28,000 locations, approximately 8,000 corporate-owned cafes were buttoned up for all employees to undergo training. But, did Starbucks miss its mark and shoot itself in the foot by largely showing anti-police propaganda via films and literature? Many believe they have.

(Credit: Facebook/Autumn Mist Malagies)

Since the anti-bias training, Starbucks has seen a dip in revenue. As well, word is spreading that its chairman is departing the coffee chain’s employ. Rumoring rolled out that Schultz may have an eye on the 2020 presidency. As with any establishment which assumes political postures and subversive stances, your cup of tea will not pacify everyone’s palate. It should therefore come as no shock that folks take their patronage elsewhere and your cup of Joe goes cold.


Of the 175,000 Starbucks employees subjected to the coffee company’s anti-bias seminar, a growing number have measured the content they were given as police brutality plunged down their throats and nothing more than a bash-the-cops brainwash. The Patriot News Reports wrote “Employees of color who attended the highly-publicized ‘unconscious bias training’ for Starbucks employees on [May 29] have reported it was more of a lesson on police brutality than anything else.”

“The training materials focused a lot on police brutality, which had nothing to do with the incident that happened,” an employee identified as “Tina” mentioned to Philadelphia Magazine.

Another Starbucks employee named Jamie offered, “At one point, a girl at my table actually had to get up and leave because video after video they showed black people being assaulted by police or black people being verbally assaulted and white people being racially biased toward people of color. It offended her. She left after that.”

“They went too deep into it and missed the point all at the same time,” Tina added.

Now-former Starbucks patron Tina Wells wrote: “For the life of me I am absolutely flabbergasted as to how this special training was conducted. I will say this, I’ll make sure the information Starbucks presented to their employees is well known all over social media! The police were called and when they arrived, the employees asked that the customers be escorted out of their business. Starbucks’ request was from the Starbucks manager, the police did nothing wrong and I don’t understand why their training would have anything to do with the police it just doesn’t jibe! Totally confused!” Indeed, many are mind blown.

Seemingly, Starbucks knew it had a live grenade on its hands, the pin pulled by its manager, and an explosive burst of bad publicity. Like many before and perhaps many to come, blaming the police was this megacorporation’s answer to its woes and brand blemish. Ultimately, the cops pay the price for two men skirting a few bucks’ latte.

“These Officers Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong”

Those were the words spoken publicly several times by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross after the Starbucks trespass arrest. Ross went on-air a few times and backed his men while also providing a police-perspective synopsis of the Starbucks incident:

But it didn’t last.  It seems some screws were tightened as days lapsed and the media blasted elements of the sleepy arrest (which we’ll view in a moment), essentially plopping the Starbucks impasse in the laps of Philly cops. I suppose police will always be the clean-up crew for mess-makers.

Subsequently, the compass stopped working altogether. Philadelphia police administration on Friday announced a department policy “shift” regarding how its police officers handle trespassing calls. Per Philadelphia police Commissioner Ross, Philly cops are required to “de-escalate and mediate the disturbance” while also exercising discretion pertaining to trespassers on private property open to the public. That goes beyond a knee-jerk reaction and aligns with more of an existential directive which cops have been doing for many years. Philly PD’s “new policy” is actually older than soil; fundamentally, cops are purposed to deescalate situations. If anything, the policy should be labeled a reminder or refresher, although nothing in the Starbucks footage indicated the need. Cow-towing? Pandering? Politicking instead of policing?

Writing for NBC News, Ethan Sacks reported that “[B]efore making an arrest, the officers are now expected to determine that the offender understands the request to leave the establishment and then witness the person refusing to honor a legitimate [lawful] request.” Further making this policy shift laughable is the notion that, failing basic, essentials factors, cops can defer to a “specialist trained in crisis intervention or a supervisor to help determine how to proceed.” Should police departments hand out pacifiers instead of badges and firearms to their cops? Could I be wrong by assuming Philadelphia police have been filling this prescription all along?

Writing rules and common-sense-based policies in the way you just read strongly implies police officers can not think on their feet. The only things Philly cops are taking away from this is a slap on the face by their command staff ponying up a ridiculous “new policy” at the behest of non-police folks professing to know better while demanding a back rub. The other thing is all the smoke and mirrors and slight-of-hand maneuvering, claiming antiquated protocols are brand-spanking new and platforming innovative policing while expecting praise from social justice warriors whose feelings buckle by mere feather touch.

It also implies the police were responsible for two folks who refused to leave when asked, while also leading people to believe cops incited the situation and are culprit instigators. They were called to enforce a trespassing law and did so, despite so many construing this to be a race issue inflamed by law enforcers. There were no damages at the particular Philly Starbucks because no escalation ensued and no arrest resistance ever occurred. Both men eventually went willingly to awaiting police cars. Those fact-based details counter insinuations or appearances that police officers worsened the situation. At one point, there are at least eight Philly cops in the Starbucks. At no time did anyone get testy, tug, torment, escalate, perform rudely, or employ aggressive behavior. No one. That calls into question the so-called newly-revised Philadelphia police policy regarding how to handle “trespass disturbances.”

According to Vox, “In May, Nelson and Robinson reached a settlement with the city of Philadelphia over the incident for $1 each and asked the city to fund $200,000 for a grant program for young entrepreneurs. They also reached a financial agreement with Starbucks for an undisclosed amount as well as ‘continued listening and dialogue between the parties and specific action and opportunity.'” By digging deeper, “opportunity” means Starbucks agreeing to pay for college tuition for Nelson and Robinson, using funds from the pre-established bank reserved for Starbucks employees’ college costs. Kinda’ gives a whole new meaning to the word Starbucks, huh?

Check out what Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney had to say about the matter: “I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner. This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city and put us under a national spotlight for unwanted reasons.” He failed to thank Philly taxpayers for footing the bill for the settlement agreement, even though their police officers did “nothing wrong.”

I just don’t get how/why leaders in Philadelphia decided to pay a dime for a legitimate police role during which procedures were textbook-trespass handling. Everything went according to police protocol as Philly cops enforced state trespass statutes. The only coffin which needs several nails belongs to Starbucks and only Starbucks, not the police.

Two-sided Coin

So as to take a glimpse into reality pertaining to alleged racial bias employed by police officers, here is irrefutable footage of some metropolis cops playing tug of war with children. Notice the cops are also at odds, albeit with sportsmanlike conduct.

All I see when I turn on the T.V. is how much the community hates officers and vice versa… I don’t know about you… but I ain’t seeing it like that! ?

Posted by Ohnoitsdapopo on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Roughly one month after the Starbucks incident, a contrary view arose in Memphis whereby a black male real estate investor was in the crosshairs of a white woman who resided next to the house he was inspecting as part of his investment business. The woman called the police. What happened? The Memphis cops chided the caller for contacting them for no good reason, as depicted in the following video recorded by Michael Hayes:

These are just a few of myriad good police work videos publicly available to anyone with a heartbeat. These two were chosen to depict the polarity between two complainants: one irresponsible company who scapegoated cops and one responsible businessman who praised objective and lawful police actions in strikingly similar contexts.

Despite its sordid role in all this morose melodrama foisted at police officers, Starbucks has implemented a come one, come all policy whereby anyone is invited in to simply sit in the café for no reason at all or to simply use its restroom.

As Dave Osterman published in the Resistance Hole, “So please, [Starbucks], stop wasting everyone’s time rehashing that racism thing that practically happened last decade and start talking about the things we’re mad about right now.” Resistance Hole happens to be wholly anti-Trump but at least they’re not throwing cops under the bus as Starbucks did. Free enterprise is one thing while scapegoating government assistance called to quell problems you started is an entirely different animal.

Incidentally, fast and furious truth-evader Eric Holder was hired to help implement the Starbucks anti-bias seminar, as were folks from the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Equal Justice Initiative. By the way, Philadelphia is one city in which George Soros had his hands (millions) on the Democrat DA campaign joysticks. George, did you have something to do with this fiasco?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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