Philadelphia, PA - Mayor Jim Kenney today released the following statement regarding the Starbucks incident:
“It has been a difficult week for many Philadelphians witnessing and reliving the trauma of racial profiling. I want to apologize on behalf of the City of Philadelphia to Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson for the experience they’ve been put through. I want to acknowledge their pain and the pain of so many others, and commit our City to healing it together over the coming days, weeks and months.
“Sometimes courage is as simple as a willingness to evaluate your own words and actions, and to account for them. Today we saw such courage with the words of Police Commissioner Richard Ross. I applaud his ability to reflect on this very difficult week, and to articulate his changed perspective. It’s that courage and self-reflection that makes the Commissioner such an effective leader. The current realities of race relations and bias in 2018 warrant ongoing re-evaluations by each and every one of us.
“It is important to remember that this City has made substantial progress, under reforms instituted by Commissioner Ross, toward reducing the number of pedestrian stops and frisks made without reasonable suspicion in Philadelphia. Under this Administration, the number of pedestrian stops conducted in the City have dropped 50% from 2015 to 2017, along with a similar decrease in the percentage of pedestrian stops conducted without reasonable suspicion. The actions of the Administration and PPD since January 2016 have made a difference in how policing in Philadelphia is conducted and how it impacts the citizens of this great City. The Commissioner and I remain committed to working with the ACLU in the current litigation, with the oversight of the federal judge, to address any issues surrounding racial disparities in those stops.”
The Police Advisory Commission is continuing to work with the PPD to arrange for interviews with officers involved and to access the data requested. PAC is also working with PCHR to identify and move forward on shared priorities throughout this process.
PPD: The Internal Affairs Division investigation should be completed by the middle of next week. The policy review determined that there was no specific policy regarding the crime of “Defiant Trespass,” aside from the PA Crimes Code and the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure. A policy regarding police response to calls for “Defiant Trespass” has been drafted, and is in the final stages of review. That process should be completed by the end of next week.
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is in the early stages of its investigation. The Commission has issued a formal request for a series of documents from Starbucks regarding its policies and practices. The PCHR will analyze the information to see if there are intentional or unintentional discriminatory consequences to those policies and practices, and to determine what improvements can be made to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.