Last time I was in a Starbucks, I sat with my laptop out, charging, using the wi-fi and making phone calls for around an hour, without buying anything, without being approached or harassed. Perhaps the manager on duty that day got fired for not insisting I make a purchase.
It's hard to find anything resembling a detailed timeline of the event, but from bits and pieces, it appears that they had been sitting in the Starbucks for at least two hours without purchasing anything. One of them asked to use the restroom at that point and was refused because they had been sitting there for so long not buying anything. It was after that point that the issue escalated (and we have no direct evidence of what was said or done between them and the store manager). At some point, the manager asked them to leave and they refused. After that point, she called the police and reported this. The police arrived some time later and they asked the men to leave, not once, not twice, but three times. They gave them ample warnings and opportunities to avoid being arrested and made it clear that the consequence of not leaving would be arrest (which the cops, despite some claims to the contrary, really do have no choice in at that point). The one firm bit of timeline that I could find is that it was over an hour
between when the manager called the cops and they arrived on the scene. This was clearly not a case of a couple guys hanging out for a short period of time before ordering their drinks.
Here's the deal. We can speculate all day long about whether a pair of white men in the exact same situation would have been noticed if hanging out at that Starbucks for that same period of time without buying anything. We can recount cases where this person or that person at some random Starbucks did this or that and didn't get asked to leave. That's all meaningless though. Unless you know for a fact that that exact manager at that exact Starbucks allows white people to do exactly what these men were doing, for exactly that length of time, and would have allowed them to use the restroom, and not asked them to purchase something or leave, and would have responded to whatever exact verbal exchange took place in a completely different manner, which would not have led to her calling the police, then you cannot actually insist that this had anything at all to do with race. I mean, you *can*, but you'd be engaging in your own racial bias at that point.
Again. Not buying it. IMO there is far more racial bias in the assumptions about the event than in the actions of the store manager. Everyone focuses on the drama of the events after the police arrive, but seem to ignore the series of events that lead up to that point. That was the avoidable part of this, and it was 100% avoidable by the two men.